Will I ever see my girl again?

I resided with my father, stepmother, and stepbrother. Upon completing ninth grade, I immediately joined the workforce. In 2015, I got married and moved out, renting a place with my then-husband.

I became a full-time housewife after the birth of our daughter, and to supplement our income, I started an online shop selling cosmetics and baby products.

Sadly, my marriage was riddled with conflict, and in 2018 my husband took our daughter and severed all contact with me, my family, and my friends. He subsequently filed for divorce unilaterally and gained custody of our girl.

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When your life is past due

I am a 29 years old woman from South Africa. In 2022 I was arrested at the Hong Kong International Airport for trafficking dangerous drug. I am a single mother of two boys, aged 11 and 9 years old.

Before my arrest, I had been struggling to support my sons financially. In 2020 I enrolled in a college for a 3-year course. Once admitted I was offered a bursary that only covered my fees, but in order to get it, I needed to achieve a certain percentage in my exams. Unfortunately I struggled to maintain the grades, and in 2022 my performance dropped. The bursary stopped paying for my fees, but I continued studying without paying and I managed to qualify to write my final-year exams.

Being arrested is the worst thing that has ever happened to me. I am emotionally drained, I just live because there is nothing else to do.

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An experience that will never be forgotten

Let me first introduce myself. I am a Brazilian man, originally from the state of Belém do Pará. I am 36 years old, married, and have a son. To begin, I will talk a little about my life before everything that I am experiencing today – my life before was simple and lovely.

I have always worked honestly, I have always liked to work hard to achieve my goals. I am a personal trainer and have always worked in the bodybuilding area. I worked in various gyms in different states. I even got to train celebrities and became known in the social circle for the good work in my professional history. I have always been a dedicated person in everything I do. I am a humble person, I come from a humble family. I have a wonderful family. I am greatly thankful to my parents for the education they gave me throughout my life. I learned to respect others in the same way I wished to be respected.

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My life in numbers

Six

I grew up in foster care from a young age under the Social Welfare Department. I lived in a total of six foster homes from the age of 2 to 12. Let me start with the first one. I lived there for four years, from the age of 2 to 6. Because I was very young at the time, I considered them my family – my father, mother, and brother. I didn’t know my biological parents then and thought that this was my very own family. However, that was not the reality. When I entered first grade, someone came to my home and took me to court for a family progress hearing. It was the first time I saw a man claiming to be my biological father. However, I was too young to understand anything, so I didn’t say anything to him. After that court hearing, the person who asked me to go to court came again and took me to another home, where I met a new family. After that, I never saw my original father and mother again. I knew I wouldn’t see them anymore.

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Living in anguish far from home

I am now in detention and I want to share my story of how I got tricked into trafficking cocaine into Hong Kong on 25th October 2022. That was the day I got arrested at the Hong Kong International Airport upon arriving.I am a 29-year-old mother of two. In 2020, I got a call from my ex-husband because things could not work out between us. We had separated in 2016 when I had just gotten pregnant with our second child. I had to relocate to a different town because a lot had happened to me. I needed space. I had left home by then, my grandparents who raised me didn’t agree with me having a baby. They were scared that with the way I was maybe I would go dump the child in the street. So I left them and went to my childhood friend who was willing to take me in. We started living happily. We found work as sales agents at one of the most popular insurance companies in my country because before I could separate from my ex-husband I was already selling insurance.

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High risk, formidable danger

I was arrested in Sham Shui Po on December 13, 2022, for trafficking dangerous drugs. Before that, I worked as a truck driver, putting in long hours of 15 to 17 per day to earn a monthly income of around HK$30,000. I had financial responsibilities, including supporting my retired parents and covering various expenses. Life was challenging.

In April of that year, my father’s health took a sudden turn for the worse. He required frequent hospital visits. By June, he was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer and stage IV lung cancer. As someone with a background in insurance, I realized the significant expenses we would face.

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For my baby boy’s sake

My parents divorced when I was three years old, and I lived with my father, grandmother and my two brothers, who are about ten years older than me. My father worked diligently each day to provide for us, often leaving early in the morning and returning late at night. Consequently, the responsibility of my care fell on my grandmother with the help of my brothers.

I should have been grateful that I had three meals a day and a roof over my head. Why should I expect my father and grandmother to pay attention to my emotional needs?

I only reached elementary school level of education as my family couldn’t provide a suitable environment for my learning. Everyone only focused on making ends meet. To ease the financial strain on our family, I desired to start working early. This led to a loss of interest in studying, as I perceived earning money to be more valuable.

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How can I stitch back my life?

I am a mother of two boys. I had a lovely family, my sons’ upbringing has been one rooted in love, care, and strong family values. 

During my own childhood, I was fortunate to grow up in a supportive environment with both my mother and father.

As the eldest child in a working-class family on the Mainland, I faced challenges early on. At the age of fifteen, I moved to Guangdong to work in a handbag factory. I worked diligently to support my family. When I was seventeen, I was raped by the boss. As a young and inexperienced girl, I found myself unsure of what to do next. Eventually, I made the decision to leave the factory and seek assistance from my paternal uncle, who unfortunately struggled with drug addiction.

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Whatever my future holds

I am grateful to the Lord for comforting me in challenging situations.

I was extremely worried when my boyfriend didn’t come to see me. He is the man I love, and I know his temperament very well. When he can’t win an argument he becomes irritable, and I’m afraid my situation will affect him. Fortunately he has had support throughout this difficult time, and that brings me much relief.

I have now pleaded guilty, and I hope that the people who threatened me will release their grip and not harm my boyfriend and our children. Even now, I am still very distressed. I don’t know the extent of the harm these people can cause to my loved ones, and I don’t know if they are safe. I still feel lost and helpless. I dare not express my thoughts to anyone, including to my boyfriend. All I can do is pray and hope that the Lord’s presence will keep them healthy and safe.

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Reflections in the stillness of the night

I was arrested for drug trafficking when I was 19 and will turn 21 on September 1st. One day after my birthday, I will be transferred to another detention center to continue my sentence. On October 6th 2023, I will be sentenced in the district court.

While in custody, I have had many conversations with spiritual counselors and received love and support from my family. I have come to realize and admit my mistakes. I pray to God, asking for forgiveness for my sins. During this time, I have promised myself that once I complete my sentence, I will be a good son to my family and make positive contributions to society.

I want to share my experience as a warning to young people who are still struggling in society. I hope they don’t choose a life of crime like I did.

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How drugs destroyed my body and soul

I have been arrested for drug trafficking and drug possession. I am 35 years old and have been using drugs since I was 15. I was introduced to drugs by my boyfriend at that time. We primarily consumed drugs at discos. I was influenced by my boyfriend and other friends, and I got involved out of curiosity, a desire for excitement, and peer pressure. At that time, I thought drugs were fashionable.

I lived with my parents and my older sister. After finishing secondary school, I lived a carefree lifestyle. At 19, I committed my first drug possession offence and received a two-week probation sentence. This incident led my mother to monitor me closely. Unfortunately, I then committed another drug possession offense, which resulted in my sentencing to a drug rehabilitation center.

During my time in the rehabilitation centre, I met more drug addicts like myself. Over the years, I was in and out of the rehabilitation centre several times. Initially, I consumed ketamine, but my health deteriorated and I suffered greatly from its side effects. I didn’t want to continue living like that.

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From remitting to on remand

After the 2019 social unrest and gradual calmness following the extradition bill controversy in Hong Kong, my friend and I opened a currency exchange store around November of the same year. Our main business was currency exchange and remittance services. However, due to the time required for the customs financial license application, we were unable to start operating the business just yet. We had already paid $24,000 for store handover fees, $36,000 for a one-time deposit, and monthly rent of $18,000. We spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in about six months.

As one wave subsided, another one rose in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic spread and the government implemented work-from-home measures for its departments. The approval for the customs financial license was further delayed, and we became very anxious.

With only expenses and no income, I looked for a way to raise some quick capital. I got introduced to a drug dealer through a former colleague. Continue reading From remitting to on remand

Momentary greed, long-term consequences

I hope that my story can prevent others from experiencing the loss of freedom due to momentary greed, just like I did. Here is my story:

At the age of 18, I was sentenced to nine months in prison for drug trafficking. Fortunately, I had the support of my family and girlfriend during that time. Although I lacked freedom, my life was less harsh than many others in prison. After my release, I made a conscious effort to stay grounded and avoid further disappointing or hurting my loved ones.

In 2018, I ran into my former inmate friend *Nigel at a bar while attending a friend’s gathering. He had taken care of me in prison, so we exchanged phone numbers and planned to hang out again. He frequently invited me out for drinks and would even pay for my friends. After a few sessions, I asked him how he could afford to hang out so often without a job and still have so much money to spend. He admitted to me that he was selling drugs.

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What’s in the package?

On the afternoon of July 28, 2022 a “friend” called me, and asked where I was. I told her I was at my boarding house. She then asked if I could run an errand for her, and gave me an address. She mentioned that she needed me to collect a package delivery from DHL.

Upon my arrival, I saw three men delivering the package. I approached them and told them that I was here to pick up the package. I showed them the tracking number. They asked for the phone number of the consignee, so I called my friend and she answered. The DHL couriers saw me calling and heard my conversation. My friend then told me that I didn’t need to pick up the package anymore. However, the men asked me for my identification and took me inside a van.

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What will happen to my children?

I am a 24-year-old Brazilian currently in a Hong Kong prison. I have five children and grew up with separated parents, being raised by my grandparents in the interior of São Paulo. I moved to Fortaleza in 2020.

I lived with my children and worked tirelessly to support them without any help. Despite my efforts, I never received any assistance from my family. After the separation, my parents abandoned me and showed no interest in my well-being or that of my children.

A few months ago, I found myself in a moment of desperation. I was unemployed, with overdue bills and rent, and no money for food. To make matters worse, my five-month-old son had a bout of bronchitis. I spent my nights and days crying and feeling lost. It was at this moment that an acquaintance offered me a job and said that the payment would be of great help to me.

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