Packaged lies

I am a single mother of three. Before becoming a single parent, I was a homemaker, caring for my children. However, my husband had an affair and left us with no regard for our well-being. The emotional trauma and financial hardship at that time set me on this irreversible journey.

In a state of despair and helplessness, struggling to pay rent, electricity bills, and even afford meals for my children, a ‘friend’ I met on social media introduced me to a packaging job. This job, offering an attractive daily wage of HK$1,000 (~USD128), immediate cash payments, and no experience required, seemed promising. I reached out to the contact person for more information.

At that time, I was in desperate need of money, so it seemed like the perfect solution. Two days later, he brought $10,000 in cash to my home and discussed further details.

This individual was very chatty, asking about my personal life. I disclosed my immediate need for work and my family situation. Then, he eagerly encouraged me to ‘start working’, even suggesting I could package the goods at home, so it wouldn’t disrupt my childcare responsibilities. When I inquired about the nature of the goods, he evaded the question, instead offering me HK$10,000 (~USD1,280) as immediate relief.

At that time, I was in desperate need of money, so it seemed like the perfect solution. Two days later, he brought $10,000 in cash to my home and discussed further details. When I received the goods, I discovered they were drugs, which terrified me. My fear increased when I realized I had accepted money from this person who now knew my address.

I expressed my wish to quit but he tried to persuade me again. “Think of your children,” he said. “It’s expensive to raise kids. Make some quick money to provide them with good food and a good life…”

By the time I was arrested, approximately 3.5 kg of drugs were found on me and in my home. It was a shocking and harsh reality that hit me hard. Regrettably, it was too late. I was charged with two counts of drug trafficking.

During my incarceration, I’ve greatly missed my children and my elderly father. His diagnosis during the pandemic, when I was unable to be there for him, left me feeling helpless and intensified my worries. At over 70 years old, his health is deteriorating. I remember his visit to the prison a year ago, when he said, “Dad’s health isn’t good, I’m getting old! I don’t know if I’ll live to see you come out.” His words felt like a heavy weight and brought tears to my eyes.

I also worry about my sentence, given the young age of my children (between 4 and 12 years old). Not being able to take care of them or be there for them is a deep regret. My worry, anxiety, and longing for my children often lead to insomnia. I frequently find myself weeping in secret, feeling emotionally drained.

However, I am grateful for one thing. Over a year ago, I started learning about God, praying, and joining a fellowship. This has brought me peace and improved my emotional state. I hope to continue getting to know God and finding redemption.

My time in prison has led to deep reflection and understanding of the harm drugs cause society. Faced with a long sentence and the loss of precious time with my growing children, I fully realize the weight of my actions.

Despite this, with my family’s support and God’s guidance, I’ve regained hope. I understand that even in adversity, I must confront the challenges ahead. I’ve enrolled in courses at the CUSCS to continue my education and prepare for my future reintegration into society.

I urge everyone to understand the severity of drug trafficking. It has far-reaching and severe societal consequences. Drug traffickers often exploit vulnerabilities like family issues, financial difficulties, or debts to lure individuals into their trade. Thus, it’s crucial to stay vigilant and raise awareness about these dangers.

Note: This story is a combination of three letters, originally written in Chinese. It has been translated and redacted. Switch language to read the original.