A woman, who was trying to smuggle two suitcases made of cocaine, was arrested at an airport in China, authorities have said.

The woman and her suitcase came under suspicion when a young security official was not able to carry the unusually heavy suitcase at Shanghai Pudong International Airport. The airport officials then X-rayed the luggage and found out that it was darker in colour than a normal suitcase and that it was made of more than 10kg (22lb) of cocaine.

Cocaine was allegedly mixed into the suitcases using an injection molding technique – a manufacturing process for producing parts by injecting material into a mold, the Shanghai Daily quoted authorities as saying.

The Southeast Asian woman, who was travelling from an undisclosed South American country, was taken into custody.

According to reports, the incident happened in February but came to light only on Tuesday, 6 June, ahead of International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking on 26 June.

Cocaine is a relatively rare drug in China and according to the country's law, anyone found guilty of trafficking more than 50g of cocaine will be executed.

A number of foreigners have been awarded death sentence following drug dealing convictions since 2000. Recently in February, a retired journalist was hanged to death as he tried to smuggle almost 4Kg of cocaine into the China at Guangzhou Airport in 2010.

Also, a British citizen named Akmal Shaikh faced execution in 2009 for possessing 4kg of heroin.

The latest incident is the first case of its kind in China, where a person tried to smuggle a suitcase made out of cocaine into the country.

But in Australia a similar kind of incident happened recently, where a German couple was allegedly attempting to smuggle four kilograms of cocaine through Sydney Airport in the lining of their suitcases.

The duo – Sami Trabelsi and Snjezana Stein – had flown over 16,000km from the German city of Dusseldorf on a 20-hour flight to Australia, which is considered a profitable market for cocaine.

It is said that in Sydney, a gram of the drug can sell for as much as $300 (£231).

cocaine-made suitcases
Airport authorities X-rayed the luggage and found out it was made of more than 10kg cocaine - Representational image HO/AFP/Getty Images