The Australian mum-of-two tricked into a Cambodian jail nightmare, by a man she was falling for.

Yoshe Ann Taylor started 2013 living on a remote Queensland property with her two kids, dreaming of a career in the arts. By the end of the year she was facing 23 years in a Cambodian prison after being convicted for attempting drug trafficking.

The 44-year-old was one of three foreigners, including a 19-year-old French woman, Charlene Savarino, arrested by local authorities trying to smuggle 2.2kg of heroin out of Phnom Penh International Airport, following a tip off by the Australian Federal Police.

At the time the two women denied being part of an international drug ring, but both still sentenced to more than two decades behind bars.

They said the narcotic-filled back pack they were carrying belonged to their Nigerian companion, Precious Chneme Nwoko.

Three years later, with Taylor living a nightmarish existence away from her children in Phnom Penh’s Police Judicial prison it’s been revealed that not only did the AFP provide the intelligence that put her there, they may also have information proving her innocence.

Yoshe Ann Taylor. Source: Getty


An investigation by SBS's The Feed and Fairfax found that the former-kindergarten teacher fell victim to a dating scam run by an international drug smuggling syndicate.

They also discovered she is not the not its first Australian victim.

Yoshe and her family speak to SBS Viceland:

According to The Feed and Fairfax, the syndicate, of which Australian authorities are aware, targets vulnerable women looking for love online with the aim of turning them unwittingly into drug mules.

In 2013, Taylor had just lost her job and was homeschooling her children then aged nine and 14.

She was lonely and looking for love online when she met a South African businessman working in Cambodia, apparently in the arts and crafts industry.

Over a year, she and "Precious Max" - later revealed to be Nwoko - built a close relationship, sharing photos and flirtatious messages daily.

Eventually, he paid for her to fly to Phnom Penh where he wined and dined her, talking about setting up a Brisbane brand of his 'Khmer Arts and Crafts' business.

"He apparently has a job for me running an Cambodian art gallery in Australia," Taylor told a friend in a message seen by The Feed and Fairfax. "Read a contract. It seems legitimate".

Over three months, Taylor flew back and forth three times completely unaware she was being tracked by authorities.

Dozens of pieces of correspondence allegedly show she was completely unaware she was the victim of a scam.

It was during her third trip back that Nwoko asked her to carry his backpack.

A number of other women allegedly fell victim to his charms in Australia but the consequences for them have been far less severe than Taylor who has not seen her son and daughter since 2014.

She is currently appealing her conviction in Cambodia with decision is due to be handed down on the December 6.

Feature image: SBS Viceland