Pubdate: Thu, 18 Dec 2008
Source: West Australian (Australia)
Copyright: 2008 West Australian Newspapers Limited
Bookmark: (Heroin)


An Australian man charged with drug smuggling in Thailand says he has made 
a "big mistake" and is going to "pay for it".

Andrew Hoods, 36, was arrested at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi international 
airport's departure hall on Wednesday afternoon with 3kg of heroin strapped 
to his body, Thai officials said.

He was charged with drug smuggling after Thai Customs found the drugs 
concealed in 12 packages.

Thai police said another Australian, believed to be a friend of Hoods, is 
on the run after managing to escape from the airport.

During a break in questioning at Bangkok drug headquarters, Hoods said he 
had been caught red handed.

"I was caught with heroin, trying to bring it to Australia," Hoods told the 
Seven Network on Thursday.

"I made a big mistake and I'm going to pay for it man, do you know what I 
mean, I'm going to pay for it."

The heroin was estimated to have a street value of about 12 million baht 
($A494,000), Thai officials said.

But Hoods' thoughts are now focused on his daughter, whose photograph he 
carries in his wallet.

"I've got her right, I've got my daughter here with me, know what I mean," 
he said while clutching the photo to his chest.

"And that's all I've got man, that's all I've got."

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on Thursday said diplomats had 
met with Hoods.

"Consular staff at the Australian embassy in Bangkok have spoken to the man 
and are providing him consular assistance," a DFAT spokesman told AAP.

Consular staff were also in contact with the man's family, he said.

Thailand toughened its drug laws in 2002, but remains a transit point for 
narcotics produced in neighbouring Myanmar, the world's second largest 
opium producer and a major methamphetamine hub.

Drug trafficking in Thailand carries the death penalty.


- ---
MAP posted-by: Jo-D