A drug mule with 151 cocaine capsules in his stomach was arrested at an airport in Thailand.
The 29-year-old South African male had just arrived at Phuket International Airport from Ethiopia when immigration officers noticed his suspicious behaviour on June 9.
Officers inspected his baggage but did not find any contraband. They suspected he was a smuggler who had swallowed the goods and he was taken for an x-ray at Thalang Hospital.
Medics were shocked when they found the capsules in his stomach which reportedly weighed almost 2kg and were worth 4.47 million baht (AUD$181,534).
Customs Department spokesperson Chaiyut Khamkun said officials are cracking down as international Covid restrictions ease.
"We have been strict in intercepting these unwanted smugglers especially since the country is opening up once again to travellers," he said.
The agency's spokesman added that through their continuous efforts, they have already caught four drug smugglers in under five days.
"Four foreigners have been caught in a span of five days from June 9 to 13. The first one was in Phuket Airport while the second group was caught in Bangkok," he said.
On June 13, another three travellers from Brazil were caught hiding cocaine inside their bags that weighed 15.70kg. It had an estimated sale value of 47 million baht or just over AUD$1.9m.
The bags were reportedly customised with secret pockets where the drugs were kept.
The alleged drug traffickers were remanded in custody during investigation.
Thailand suffered a major economic downturn due to the pandemic, but its tourism industry apparently showed signs of recovery as it opened its doors to foreign visitors.
Experts expect the number of tourists to increase over the next years.
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