Love scammed: Australian woman in Cambodian jail – The Feed

She was talking to a dude on the phone.

I just know that she went away and something happened.

Have you got a message to your family? I love you.

A single mum of two, living in regional Queensland, recently unemployed.

Yoshe Taylor went online looking for companionship.

There she met a man who offered a whole lot more.

He went by the name Precious Max and claimed he was a successful South African businessman working in Cambodia.

Over 12 months, Precious Max wooed Taylor and gained her trust.

He paid for her to travel to Phnom Penh, wined and dined her, and promised her a job.

But this story has no fairytale ending.

The 44 year old mother of two is now serving more than 20 years in a Cambodian prison.

In 2013, she was arrested at Phnom Penh airport.

with 2kg of heroin concealed in a backpack given to her by Precious Max.

In the hours that followed, Precious was also arrested and his real identity as a Nigerian drug trafficker and fraudster revealed.

Yoshe's case has gone largely unnoticed, kept out of the media by her distraught family.

Now in this special joint investigation by The Feed and Fairfax Media, she breaks her silence for the first time.

There's so many people who have been tricked.

I'm not the only one to be tricked.

Have you got a message to your family? I love you.

There are at least three other Australians who were conned into becoming drug mules by Precious Max and his syndicate.

One of them was Kay Smith.

Kay was arrested just weeks before Yoshe.

She was carrying two bags on behalf of Precious.

She'd also met him online, fallen in love, and believed they were engaged.

At Melbourne Customs, the truth was almost too much to bear.

In the three years since her arrest, Taylor has never been visited by an AFP representative.

Her family and friends have never been interviewed.

And there's a good reason why the AFP should have been in touch.

Precious Max has continued to scam Australian women from behind bars.

Joanne Mitchell was a single mother of three when she met him online last year.

He wooed her over six months declared his love, and proposed.

Precious was able to pay for special privileges inside prison including accessing the internet.

From there, he tricked Joanne in to carrying back a bag of heroin.

At Melbourne Customs, her world came crashing down.

White powder came out.

Last year, Joanne provided the AFP with an 18 page statement.

They dropped the charges against her, telling her that Precious was part of a larger syndicate.

Kay Smith's case was also discontinued.

But in Cambodia, despite overwhelming evidence to prove she is the victim, Yoshe is facing 20 more years behind bars.

It's a dream come true, and they want to believein that dream.

Each year, more than 2,500 Australians are caught up in lonely heart scams.

Usually, it involes sending money to an online lover but becoming a drug mule is not uncommon.

The scammers are incredibly good at manipulating people emotionally, of drawing them in to their own little world, of cutting them off from family and friends and support who may try to talk them out of believing in this great romance they've discovered.

Yoshe Taylor's two children are trying to get on with life as best they can.

There's a lot they wish they could share with their mum.

Does your mum know that you draw this stuff now? I don't know – she knows that I like art.

I wish I could show her that I've improved a lot.

I don't think I really knew what to feel first.

I was sad.

Buti thought, well, we'll get through this somehow.

How long has it been now since you've seen your mum? Three years.

If you could talk to your mum tomorrow, if you could see her tomorrow, what would you say to her? I'd probably tell her how much I missed her and stuff.

We love you.

We miss you.

Back in Phnom Penh, Yoshe has been in court for an appeal.

hoping the information that could secure her release might finally have made it before the judges.

Do you want to send a message to your kids? I miss you.

Source: Youtube