Nigerian Precious Chineme Nwoko, was a member of an international drug syndicate who is spending 27 years in jail in Cambodia. He was sentenced in 2014 and an attempt by him in 2016 to get a reprieve failed. Two Australian women he recruited online as mules via a romance scam are cursing the day they fell in love with him, after they were arrested, tried and jailed for carrying drugs. They have related their stories in a documentary by ABC Australia. Read their pathetic experience:
An Australian mother has issued a desperate warning to other women after travelling to Cambodia on the promise of love, before unwittingly being used as a drug mule.
Yoshe Taylor, a 47-year-old single mother and school teacher, met South African businessman ‘Precious’ through the dating app Tagged.
He was caring and sweet, with a buff gym body and a broad smile.
Battling depression and struggling to keep up with mortgage repayments, when her internet boyfriend offered Ms Taylor the opportunity to fly to Cambodia to meet him she saw it as the perfect escape.
Instead she ended up spending six years in one of Cambodia’s worst prisons, having falling victim to her fraudster boyfriend – a member of a huge international drug syndicate.
‘I had been all by myself for a long time, four years, just me and the kids,’ she told the ABC’s Australian Story.
‘I was talking to him for a long time; I thought I got to know him and he seemed very nice.’
Ms Taylor would often stay up late at night exchanging messages with Precious.
He would tell her that when it came to love it was ‘her or nothing’, while also saying he worried about whether she was sleeping or eating well.
‘You have a busy day in the morning,’ Ms Taylor’s lover told her.
But Precious was not a 43-year-old businessman from South Africa like he claimed.
In reality he was a 24-year-old Nigerian whose name was Precious Chineme Nwoko.
By the time Ms Taylor worked this out it was Christmas 2013 and the 41-year-old was locked up inside the notorious Prey Sar Prison.
Each cell inside the women’s prison had 99 inmates and not enough beds, meaning many had to sleep side-by-side on the floor.
She was found guilty of drug smuggling and was sentenced to 23 years in prison.
But Ms Taylor wasn’t the only Australian woman being targeted by Precious, who also had a Melbourne woman in his sights.
Kay Smith had also met the African scam artist over a dating app and immediately showed off his softer side, telling her about the orphanage where he volunteered.
‘The kids here are asking when I will bring my wife too. Almost cried,’ he told her.
Eventually, having gained Ms Smith’s trust, he also asked him to travel to Cambodia to visit him.
Precious paid for her flights, passport and accommodation, but said the trip had to be limited to only four days as he had business to attend to overseas.
‘I was petrified the whole journey,’ Ms Smith said of her trip but that anxiety subsided when he turned up at the airport to collect her as promised.
That night they went out for dinner and asked her to marry him. She said yes.
On the final night of her whirlwind trip Precious asked Ms Smith to take two laptop bags back to Australia with her.
Having gone through the bags and checked the contents, the first moment Ms Smith discovered what was in them was at customs at Melbourne Airport.
Shocking CCTV footage from August 29, 2013 shows Ms Smith falling to the floor as customs officers told her two kilograms of heroin was hidden in the lining of the bag.
‘In the space of four days, this guy destroyed my entire life, my existence,’ she said.
Ms Smith spent six months in a maximum security women’s prison in Melbourne and then 18 months on bail before police dropped the charges against her.