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Australian Andrew Hoods arrested in Thailand on drug charges
Article from: Herald Sun - December 17, 2008


Formally charged: Andrew Hoods (Reuters: Sukree Sukplang)
AN Australian man faces the death penalty after being charged with drug smuggling in Thailand.

Thai customs have charged an Australian man with smuggling drugs after arresting him at a Bangkok airport with packs of heroin allegedly strapped to his body, officials said on Wednesday.

Andrew Hoods, 36, was arrested at Suvarnabhumi international airport's departure hall on Wednesday afternoon in possession of 12 packets of heroin weighing three kilograms in total, an official said.

A customs official estimated that the drugs would have a street value of 12 million baht (around $500,000) in Thailand.

Police said that another Australian, believed to be a friend, managed to escape.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said the arrested man was from New South Wales.

"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 are also in contact with the man's family, he said.

Thailand toughened its stance on illegal drugs 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.

Drugs trafficking carries the death penalty in Thailand.

The tragedy of Andrew Hoods - and his little girl
Article from: The Daily Telegraph - By Justin Vallejo - December 20, 2008


Facing death ... Andrew Hoods at Thailand's Criminal Court.
HIS daughter came second - Thailand's death penalty was a distant third.

Andrew Hoods' first thought was the $500,000 pay-day 3kg of heroin would earn in the streets of Kings Cross.

Only now, languishing in a Bangkok prison where he faces the possibility of a firing squad, has Hoods realised what he left behind in Annandale, where he would have said a last goodbye to his daughter.

What drove a man to leave behind his nine-year-old girl and risk a death penalty for a few kilograms of heroin?

It's a story of drugs, divorce, rehab and a little girl. She's the only thing he truly has left to hold, a memory captured in a picture in his wallet.

In the past few weeks Hoods still fought to kick a heroin addiction, friends from Narcotics Anonymous say.

"I was in rehab with (him) and I know Andy has been struggling not using heroin any more," an NA friend said.

But far from being the candle of hope in Hoods' storm of addiction, Narcotics Anonymous appears to be where the ill-fated plan developed that led him to strap 12 packets of heroin to his chest.

He was a drug mule. He stopped using, or was trying to, but couldn't break the cycle with the NA crowd and tried to smuggle the powder through Suvarnabhumi airport on Wednesday.

"A lot of people in NA send mules over to Thailand," Hoods' friend said. "A lot of people that get off it (drugs) don't use any more but they still sell. They get caught in the trap of the easy dollar from when they were using."

It's not what NA had in mind when it opened the upstairs back room of the Newtown Neighbourhood Centre in King St for addicts to meet for support.

Hoods, from Blacktown, turned to NA after years of drug abuse that led to a divorce and unemployment. Friends last saw him near Broadway about 5am or 6am, two weeks ago.

The next time they saw him he was surrounded by Thai customs officials. His victorious captors wheeled him out, surrounded by the drugs for the cameras.

"I've got my daughter here with me," he said, clutching her photo. "And that's all I've got, man, that's all I've got."

I did it for the money: alleged Aust drug smuggler
By South East Asia Correspondent Karen Percy

An Australian man has appeared in a Bangkok court on drug trafficking charges, a crime which attracts the death penalty in Thailand.

Thirty-six year old Andrew Hood of New South Wales was handcuffed and chained to two other prisoners when he arrived at Bangkok's criminal court this morning.

He has been formally charged with drug possession and attempting to export drugs for sale.

He was caught at Suvarnabhumi International Airport on Tuesday, allegedly carrying 3 kilograms of heroin in packets taped to his body.

He was due to board a flight to Sydney that afternoon.

The drugs had a street value of more than $500,000 and Hood told reporters at the court today that he did it for money.

If found guilty, Hood could face a life sentence or even the death penalty.

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