• Sun
  • Jul 13, 2014
  • Updated: 7:28pm

HK-based model caught in date-rape drug bust

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 28 August, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 28 August, 2011, 12:00am

A Hong Kong-based model has been remanded in custody in Australia after denying charges that she tried to import 20 litres of liquid fantasy, a date-rape drug, worth about A$4 million (HK$32.7 million).

Felicity Stephens was arrested on Australia's Gold Coast after a joint federal and state police operation in co-operation with Australian customs.

The 29-year-old showgirl and model hails from the Gold Coast, but she spends most of her time working in Hong Kong. Last week she made an application to vary her bail to attend her mother-in-law's 65th birthday party in Greece, but the court rejected her application.

Last month, Australian Customs and Border Protection Service officers inspected and confiscated a 20-litre drum of liquid fantasy that had arrived from Hong Kong. The drug is also known as the date-rape drug gamma butyrolactone.

Stephens was later arrested after police allegedly found an email linking her to the purchase of the drug in Hong Kong. Prosecutors refused last week's application for a bail variation, fearing Stephens would not return to Australia. At the hearing, Magistrate John Costanzo said Stephens was a 'completely unacceptable risk' and would not grant the bail variation despite evidence that her return flights to Greece, which happened to be via Hong Kong, were booked and paid for.

Police allege Stephens was responsible for importing the colourless, oily liquid from Hong Kong - where it is used as a cleaning solvent - to Australia, where it is banned due to its illicit use as a date-rape drug.

It is also banned in most Western countries and importing it is illegal. In Australia, the maximum penalty for importation is life imprisonment and/or a fine of A$825,000.

The drug is known to be used recreationally. It metabolises into the drug gamma-hydoxybutryate in the body and can cause abrupt loss of consciousness, memory loss, respiratory problems, coma and death.

Australian customs said that on July 1, Customs and Border Protection Service officers selected a consignment for examination at Air Cargo Operations in Brisbane. The consignment had arrived from Hong Kong and contained a large drum of liquid, which was found to be date-rape drug liquid fantasy.

The consignment was referred to the Queensland Police Service, and subsequently the Australian Federal Police where a joint investigation began.

Queensland police later executed a search warrant at Stephens' residential premises in the Gold Coast where further evidence relating to the importation was allegedly located, and she was arrested and charged.

15

The number of minutes that coma could ensue after the ingestion of date-rape drug gamma-hydoxybutryate

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