Indonesia arrests 6 foreigners, including Singaporean, for trying to smuggle drugs

Indonesian custom officers escort foreign suspects, including Singaporean Ruth Tan En Yi, for drug smuggling charges in Bali, Indonesia, on Dec 18, 2019. PHOTO: AP

DENPASAR, Indonesia (AP) - Indonesian authorities said on Wednesday (Dec 18) that they have arrested six foreigners for allegedly trying to smuggle drugs onto the tourist island of Bali.

A Swiss man, a Thai man, a Singaporean woman, a Chilean man and two Hong Kong men wearing orange detainee uniforms were paraded with their feet and hands tied at a news conference in Denpasar, the capital of Bali province.

The customs spokesman for the Bali and Nusatenggara regional office, Wachid Kurniawan, said the suspects were arrested separately since last month upon arrival at the airport.

Kurniawan said the Swiss man was arrested on Nov 4 with a total of 30.04g of marijuana in his luggage. Two days later, customs officers nabbed the Thai man with 17.76g of marijuana concealed in his underwear.

He said the Singaporean woman, Ruth Tan En Yi, was captured on Nov 14 after an immigration officer found a small plastic with 0.35g of cocaine inside her passport, while the Chilean man was nabbed two weeks later with 77.26g of liquid methamphetamine in his black suitcase.

A Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman told The Straits Times that the ministry is aware of the case and the Singapore Embassy in Jakarta has been in contact with the Singaporean and next-of-kin to render consular assistance.

The Hong Kong man was arrested on Dec 4 with 3.2kg of crystal methamphetamine in his luggage, and his 19-year-old fellow Hong Kong national was captured last week with 4kg of crystal methamphetamine wrapped in four branded pet food packaging in his luggage, Kurniawan said.

Indonesia has extremely strict drug laws, and convicted smugglers are sometimes executed by firing squad.

More than 150 people are currently on death row, mostly for drug crimes. About one-third of them are foreigners.

In May, a Frenchman was sentenced to death on Lombok, an island next to Bali, for smuggling 3kg of Ecstasy before a higher court commuted his sentence to 19 years in prison.

Last month, a court in Bali sentenced two Thais to 16-year prison terms for smuggling 1kg of methamphetamine.

With additional reporting by The Straits Times

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