China hands Kenyan life sentence for drug trafficking
This illustration shows a man being led away by Chinese officers. At least 30 Kenyans are languishing in Chinese prisons for various crimes. ILLUSTRATION | JOHN NYAGAH
In Summary
[li]The judges dismissed the defence and ruled that he had carried a substance “extremely harmful to the society”.[/li][li]Kenya and China have no bilateral arrangement to exchange prisoners. So, he may spend the rest of his life in prison there.[/li][/ul]

Simon Wambua Mbuvi, 44, earned a living in Kenya as a farm labourer. Now, he will spend the rest of his life in a Chinese jail, joining 30 other Kenyans languishing there for various crimes. Two weeks ago, the Chinese Intermediate People’s Court of Guangzhou Municipality in Guangdong Province found him guilty of trafficking drugs concealed inside his stomach into Chinese territory. Court documents obtained by the Nation show that Chief Judge Hu Peng and colleagues Wen Fangdao and Huang Jian found Mbuvi had about 947 grammes of cocaine in his stomach and gave him a life sentence. Under the Chinese criminal law, he would be facing a death penalty had the amount been a kilo or more. Except Mbuvi was not a veteran trafficker.

Whether out of greed or naivety, Mbuvi’s ordeal began on the morning of November 25, 2018 after he touched down in Guangzhou via an Ethiopian flight. As a first-time traveller to China, the Kenyan was everything but a trafficker: he had a valid visa, a return ticket and an itinerary of what he was to do in China - “buy some items and bring them back”. But his trip had been choreographed by a network of drug kingpins. It had started three months earlier when a woman known as Breda approached him with an offer of $2,050 (Sh211,150) to undertake an assignment for her. Breda, also known as Fridah, did the spadework of buying the ticket, paying visa fees and linking him to other people. She however did not say the man would be on an illegal drugs delivery assignment.

So, on the morning of November 24, Mbuvi set out for China through the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. He travelled to Addis Ababa for a connecting flight and was linked to two other men. His hosts gave him food, told him to rest then convinced him to swallow 79 capsules using water and soda. Later, they dropped him off at the airport where he would board the flight to China. But there was one instruction: he was not supposed to eat anything aboard the 12-hour flight. In China, some other agents would receive him and host him. As he went through the immigration corridors, an X-ray scanner illuminated “suspected granular items”. Evidence tabled in court says Mbuvi’s stomach had unusual foreign matter. “Customs personnel, through an X-ray machine, found that the inside of his body contained suspected granular items and handed the matter over to the Guangzhou Baiyun Airport Customs Anti-Smuggling Sub-bureau in Guangdong.” In two days he had discharged 79 capsules. They weighed 947.03 grammes.

He stayed at the Guangdong Provincial General Hospital for two days, satisfying authorities that he was not a drug user himself. Mbuvi, a first-time offender, tried a spirited defence, telling the court through a translator that he did not know he had swallowed drugs. When this was dismissed, he said Fridah had forced him to swallow the drugs as part of the deal. The judges dismissed the defence and ruled that he had carried a substance “extremely harmful to the society”. They seized the cash he had been given and his Tecno mobile phone. The court statement published his Chinese contacts but their legal identities differed from the names saved in his phone, suggesting a routine use of nicknames. Fridah had first contacted Mbuvi in July 2018 and inquired whether he had a passport. She arranged the trip, issued instructions and demanded updates. Mbuvi was given 10 days to appeal. But in the meantime he will cool his heels in jail. His passport will be handed back to Kenyan authorities.
Kenya and China have no bilateral arrangement to exchange prisoners. So, he may spend the rest of his life in prison there.

Mkambathe aliona 200K ni pesa ya ku-risk life yake kwenda China of all places. Am sure majority of the other Kenyan offenders are ladies hoodwinked by Nigerians in Roysambu. They never learn.

Acting naive did not work. How can you swallow 79 pellets and also follow instructions not to eat during the flight, yet claim not to have suspected that you were a mule?

They threw him under the bus. They knew that scanner will catch him. Probably he was sent as a distraction while a bigger fish passed.

Huyo msapere fridah anapeaje mkamba 200 k na amebeba Mali ya 11 million

I doubt that he was a decoy. These assholes gamble on random controls, at the expense of hapless mules.

By the way, notice how mildly erring Chinese are treated when caught poaching, polluting or doing all manner of illicit stuff here.

Kwani what do mules do in nature except carry heavy loads and get whipped?

Kwa sababu ukishikwa, it’s your life. Even that 11 million cannot bail you. Huko si Kenya Makadara Court.

Simiyu unashikanga na shortwave

So sad.
I think it’s easier for women to conceal it than a man.

And when they travel in large tourist groups they tend to misbehave a lot in other countries. They are polar opposites of humble Japanese.

Jamaa aliingiza mguu mmoja akajipata situation where he couldn’t back out.
I tell people kheri kufaa maskini lakini huru.
Dealing with dealers is as good as being in jail, you can’t escape, you’re either jailed or they kill you…

They should just let the mkambodia face the firing squad for being damn,dumb, dump stupid!!
Kesho utasikia familia inaomba usaidizi kutoka gavament to intervene.
Wish the mofo was nigerian, I only feel bad coz naenda kukamua mwende

He better take that time and learn chinese. And do as many prison programs as he can get. And in 10 years through good conduct he can be released… And also our government should also have a program with the Chinese government if an inmate serves 5 years he should be given the right to serve the rest of his jail term in Kenya.