Phuket Police Nab ( Korat ) Expat at Airport 'With Four Kilos of Cocaine

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Phuket Police Nab Expat at Airport 'With Four Kilos of Cocaine

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A SWISS expat resident of Thailand has been arrested and charged with bringing in four kilos of cocaine via Phuket International Airport, police sources said today.

It's believed to be among the largest hauls of the drug seized on Phuket. Phuketwan understands that the man - named as Peter Balmer, 47 - is a 13-year resident of Thailand who eventually simply ran out of money.

Details remain sketchy, but Phuketwan understands from sources that Mr Balmer examined his options and chose to make $7000 as an international drug courier by flying to Bolivia, where he collected the cocaine.

Mr Balmer was supposed to contact a man at Phuket airport who would be carrying a sign with his name, police have been told. But he was arrested inside Phuket airport, before he could make the connection.

It's understood that police from Tachatchai station, which oversees security at Phuket airport, made the arrest yesterday evening.

Mr Balmer, believed to have returned to Thailand from Bolivia via the Middle East, may have been told that Phuket was a ''softer'' arrival option, hoping his contraband might not be found.

There was noone with a ''PETER BALMER'' sign waiting outside the airport.

The haul raises questions about the scale of drugs-running through Phuket. Cocaine appears to be the drug of choice among tourists and expat residents, despite the heavy penalties for its use and sale.

He said he was a Swiss invalid who had lived for years with his second Thai wife in the province of Korat and relied on a pension for injuries sustained while he worked as a carpenter, but Switzerland cut off his pension about three months ago.

Article link .....   http://phuketwan.com/tourism/phuket-air-mules-caught-six-kilos-cocaine-14084/
« Last Edit: May 11, 2011, 04:00:35 PM by Thaiphoon »


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                                                                            My Phuket Hell: Confessions of an Expat Cocaine Courier

THE HURT of being the wife of an international drugs courier is being to show. For Amornrat Balmer, wife of Swiss national and drugs ''mule'' Peter Balmer, the best years of their marriage are probably gone forever.

The hurt for Peter Balmer's parents, who visited Thailand earlier this year to support the couple's plan to open a restaurant, can only be imagined.

Khun Amornrat, who is travelling to Phuket by bus tonight, told Phuketwan today that she had no idea her husband of six years was planning a trip to South America to become a cocaine courier.

''He told me he was going to Hua Hin for a couple of weeks, to help a friend,'' she said today from the central province of Korat, as she packed to board the bus to Phuket to be as close as possible to her husband.

She said that money had become their biggest problem since the Swiss government cut off his disability pension.

Before that, the couple could count on as much as 50,000 bah a month to see them through, and to plan for the future.

Having left the resort town of Hua Hin because it was growing too expensive, the couple headed back to Korat and the village that Khun Aornrat came from. They had outfitted a restaurant, ready to open.

But the money was running out.

And there were moments this week when Peter Balmer, novice cocaine courier, twice had one last chance.

He told Phuketwan yesterday that a second chance came when he arrived at Phuket International Airport on Monday, carrying in his baggage four kilos of cocaine that he knew could get him the death penalty in Thailand.

''I was scared,'' he said. ''I was twice close to leaving the bag in a toilet, once in Brazil and when I arrived on Phuket.

''I wish I had the choice again.''

By the time officers at the airport began to question him, having been tipped off that he was arriving, it was too late.

Now he faces a possible death penalty. ''I am scared about that,'' he said.

The following day, Tuesday, a Thai woman was arrested at Phuket International Airport carrying two kilos of cocaine. She claimed she did not know what she was carrying.

Peter Balmer knew what he was doing. The contact for the courier run came via an old acquaintance in Bangkok's notorious Nana district.

''I have been here in Thailand for 13 years,'' he said. ''After my accident, I moved here. I was married once, I gave my first wife the house we shared, then I met and married Amornrat.

''I hope she can visit me,'' he said.

Why did he do it?

''I needed the money so . . . . I was in Bolivia for two weeks. I don't use cocaine any more. It's about the money. Only about the money.''

Khun Amornrat told Phuketwan that the pension from the Swiss government allowed them to make ends meet, although her husband was an alcoholic with liver health issues.

Mr Balmer said that he had been injured in a fall in Switzerland as a carpenter years ago, leaving him with a disability pension.

''Now the government has no money for that,'' he said. ''Many people don't have this pension now. I am hoping a court decision will have it restored.''

Article Link ....  http://phuketwan.com/tourism/phuket-hell-confessed-expat-cocaine-courier-14089/