The trial of the Greek model Irene Melissaropoulou, who is charged with illegally bringing cocaine into Hong Kong, began on Thursday in the Chinese city.
Melissaropoulou was caught carrying 2.52 kilograms of cocaine, worth more than €300,000, inside a sewn-up pocket inside her back pack. She was picked up by by the Hong Kong Airport authorities when she arrived in the city from Ethiopia on November 20, 2017.
The 21-year old Greek model denied the charges and said that she was not guilty at the outset of the trial.
Earlier this week, her lawyer, Sakis Kehagioglou, expressed optimism for the outcome of her trial, as he maintains that his client was framed by an international drug smuggling ring.
However, according to Prosecutor Phillip Ross’ remarks on Thursday, Melissaropoulou was caught trying to put the backpack into a suitcase.
When checked by a customs officer at the airport, it was found that there was a sewn-up pocket inside the back pack. Following further checks, the pocket was found to contain a bag containing cocaine.
According to the same prosecutor, there are text messages on Melissaropoulou’s mobile phone and her Facebook Messenger, proving that she was nervous before going into the airport’s checkpoints.
Melissaropoulou’s counsel is expected to question eight witnesses who are scheduled to testify against her.
The trial continues on Friday, in front of Judge Esther Toh Lye-ping.
Drug trafficking is seen as an exceptionally serious crime in Hong Kong, and is punishable by a fine of approximately $640,000 — as well as life imprisonment for the guilty party.