2 Hong Kong men arrested trying to smuggle drugs into Indonesia, may face death penalty

JAKARTA (AFP) - Two Hong Kong men, including a 17-year-old, have been arrested trying to smuggle almost US$600,000 (S$750,000) worth of crystal methamphetamine into Indonesia, an offence punishable by death, an official said on Friday.

The teenager was the youngest-ever person caught trying to traffic drugs through the international airport that serves the capital Jakarta, customs official Okto Irianto told AFP.

The 17-year-old, identified only by his initials "C.K.", and the second man, a 25-year-old identified as "H.T.", were caught with 5.2kg of the drug strapped to their bodies, he said. The drugs had an estimated street value of 7 billion rupiah (S$770,000), said Mr Irianto, who is the airport customs chief.

The men were caught after flying directly to Jakarta from Hong Kong on a Cathay Pacific flight on May 21, he said.

Mr Irianto also revealed that a 56-year-old Danish man carrying 1.48kg of crystal methamphetamine, worth an estimated 1.9 billion rupiah, was detained on June 8, an arrest believed to be unrelated to that of the Hong Kong men.

Customs officials often wait until several drug arrests have been made before publicly disclosing details.

Under Indonesia's anti-narcotics laws, which are some of the toughest in the world, trafficking in more than 5g of drugs can be punished with the death sentence.

Foreigners are regularly caught trying to smuggle drugs into Indonesia, many on the hard-partying resort island of Bali, and several are on death row.