Not just crocs to guard Indonesian prison, but also...

Indonesia's anti-drugs czar Budi Waseso examining a crocodile at a farm in Medan on Sunday. He has embarked on a nationwide search for the "most ferocious" crocodiles to guard a prison island for drug convicts.
Indonesia's anti-drugs czar Budi Waseso examining a crocodile at a farm in Medan on Sunday. He has embarked on a nationwide search for the "most ferocious" crocodiles to guard a prison island for drug convicts.PHOTO: REUTERS

JAKARTA • After sparking ridicule with a proposal to build a prison island for drug convicts surrounded by crocodiles, Indonesia's anti-drugs czar has now gone further, revealing that he also wants tigers and piranhas as guards.

Mr Budi Waseso embarked on a tour of the country to find "the most ferocious type of crocodile" to guard the jail for drug convicts on death row. The head of the national anti-drugs agency faced widespread mockery over the plan. But instead of backing down, Mr Budi said yesterday he was considering the addition of man-eating piranhas and tigers as guards.

"It is also possible we may use piranhas, and because the number of personnel at the prison might not be enough, we can also use tigers," Agence France-Presse, citing local reports, said yesterday.

Indonesia already has some of the toughest anti-narcotics laws in the world, including death by firing squad for traffickers. It sparked international uproar in April when it put to death seven foreign drug convicts.

A court yesterday sentenced to death a drug leader from Hong Kong for possession of more than 860kg of methamphetamines in one of the country's biggest drug busts in years. Despite the harsh laws, Indonesia's corrupt prison system is awash with drugs, and inmates and jail officials are regularly arrested for narcotics offences.

Anti-drugs agency spokesman Slamet Pribadi hit back at suggestions that the prison island plan was a joke. "This is serious, this is not a joke," he said .

"Drug trafficking is an extraordinary crime and therefore the fight must also be extraordinary, we cannot fight the usual way."

AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 14, 2015, with the headline 'Not just crocs to guard Indonesian prison, but also...'. Print Edition | Subscribe