AMERICAN COLLEGE STUDENT JAILED FOR FALSE CHARGES OF MARIJUANA SALES IN CHINA
- November 17, 2018
While all of us are aware of the great marijuana debate in our country, the global-scale cannabis discussion is a touchier issue, particularly for people traveling in and out of countries for recreational or professional purposes. After all, just because recreational pot smoking is 100% legal in Las Vegas, Nevada doesn’t mean it will be allowed in Melbourne, Australia. Nevertheless, weed aficionados will definitely face major problems if they use the little green plant in China, Japan, or South Korea. Unfortunately, an American college student learned this lesson all too well. Let’s take a closer look at this unfortunate event and see why he was jailed for false charges of marijuana sales in China.
Teaching Turns to Turbulence
Fluent in Mandarin Chinese, 23-year old Matthew Fellows (of Gambrills, Maryland) had recently moved to China to teach English to schoolchildren, but his career quickly took a chaotic turn. At some point, Matthew was arrested on four charges of drug trafficking and was detained at Nanjing Detention for 8 months with 15 other male prisoners. For all this time, he and his temporary roommates survived on cups of watery porridge and bowls of rice.
Once they learned about his arrest, Matthew’s parents pleaded with officials at Conflict International (a security and intelligence firm). Eventually, they received assistance from Stephen Komoreck (director of Conflict’s New York branch), who helped to secure the college student’s release. Later, he discovered why Matthew had been detained: for smoking a joint at a university party. In the U.S., that would be a misdemeanor. In China, that’s enough for you to be charged with drug trafficking.
Death by Joint
Komoreck simply described Matthew’s situation as “dire.” According to the director, a person can receive the death penalty for a minimum of two drug trafficking charges. Matthew had four.
Later, after making a few calls, Komoreck discovered how this problem began. A man who had been a romantic rival of Matthew’s (who the American student didn’t even know about) gave a fake report to authorities. Fortunately, Komoreck was successfully able to reverse this problem, and Matthew has since returned to the United States of America.
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