Deputy Consul-General Suree Trairatananukool of Royal Thai Consulate-General in Hong Kong said drug gangs lured Thai women to smuggle drugs by asking them to become their girlfriends and inviting them to go abroad with them.
There are currently 71 Thais jailed in Hong Kong, of whom 55 are women, with 32 put behind bars under drug charges.
According to Ms Suree, some female victims willingly smuggled drugs while others were deceived by their foreign boyfriends--mostly from Africa, of which 80-90 per cent were from Nigeria.
Hong Kong is used as a channel for drug smuggling. Three or four Thais are arrested there each year for drug cases.
Ms Suree said there are two versions of the courier scenario, both involving boyfriends who are drug cartel members. In both cases he tells the girlfriend he cannot join the trip on the departure day and lets her travel by herself. Leaving his baggage with her, he tells her someone will pick her up and she is to give them the baggage in Hong Kong.
In another scenario, the boyfriend says he has problems and cannot join the trip. He will tell the girlfriend to leave for Thailand immediately once she arrives Hong Kong, and tells her to pick up a return ticket and a package from his cousin who is already at Hong Kong airport.
Deceived women are arrested at either Hong Kong or Thai airports, Ms Suree said. In Hong Kong, suspects are given 26 years prison for drug cases, but in China it carries the death penalty.
In the case of a Thai arrested in Kunming, the Thai consulate-general there appealed for leniency, asking for imprisonment instead of execution. The appeal is now being processed. The death penalty was once given a Thai suspected of involvement of drugs in Guangzhou.
According to Ms Suree, police officers in Hong Kong usually conduct drug cases until the last stage before informing the Consulate-General, which by then cannot provide much assistance to the Thai suspects.
The most common drugs being smuggled are methamphetamine and cocaine, she noted.