Aspiring Greek model Eirini Melissaropoulos was found not guilty on a count of drug trafficking and was released from jail by Hong Kong’s High Court on Wednesday.
Prosecutors accused the 21-year-old of knowingly carrying 2.52kg of cocaine in a hidden pocket sewn into her backpack when she arrived in Hong Kong from Ethiopia on November 20, 2017.
The mix, containing 2.09kg of pure cocaine, was valued at HK$2.3 million.
In a trial held 15 months later, prosecutors alleged the Greek woman must have known drugs were concealed in the back lining of her backpack, as the bag was unusually heavy for personal items such as clothes, cream and perfume.
However, entering a plea of not guilty, Melissaropoulou denied any knowledge of the drugs and said the backpack had been given to her by a friend named Petros.
She also said she had never used a structured hiking backpack before so she did not know how heavy it would be in the first place.
“I didn’t know anything, I was in shock,” she testified through an interpreter. “My first thought was to call Petros to ask … He didn’t pick up. It’s as though he disappeared since.”
The jury of five men and two women found her not guilty after less than three hours of deliberations.
Melissaropoulou, who had been in custody for the 15 months since her arrest, covered her mouth in disbelief while her parents cried and clapped in the public gallery.
*Source: South China Morning Post