Indonesia destroys more than two tonnes of crystal meth

Indonesian Vice-President Jusuf Kalla (centre) yesterday inspected the confiscated crystal methamphetamine wearing protective gloves and a mask before tossing some bags into an incinerator in Jakarta.
Indonesian Vice-President Jusuf Kalla (centre) yesterday inspected the confiscated crystal methamphetamine wearing protective gloves and a mask before tossing some bags into an incinerator in Jakarta.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

JAKARTA • More than two tonnes of crystal methamphetamine was destroyed yesterday as Indonesia stepped up its crackdown on drugs in one of the biggest such operations in recent years.

The South-east Asian country has some of the world's toughest anti-narcotics laws, and imposes the death penalty for trafficking.

The crystal meth had been seized from foreign-registered ships in two separate operations in Indonesian waters near Singapore earlier this year. Four Taiwanese and four Chinese crew members were arrested.

Indonesian Vice-President Jusuf Kalla inspected the drugs wearing protective gloves and a mask before tossing some bags of the crystal meth into an incinerator in Jakarta.

"We respect the police for seizing this... 2.6 tonnes (of crystal meth) has been confiscated but there is still much more out there, so the danger is still real," he said.

Indonesia - the world's most populous Muslim-majority country - has made combating narcotics a top priority and resumed the execution of traffickers in 2015 after an unofficial hiatus.

Eighteen convicted drug smugglers - including 15 foreigners - have been sent to the firing squad under President Joko Widodo, sparking a diplomatic backlash.

Last month, eight Taiwanese drug smugglers were sentenced to death.

Mr Joko has repeatedly defended his tough stance, claiming Indonesia faces a "drugs emergency" and must act to protect the next generation.

There were about six million drug users in Indonesia in 2016 out of a total population of about 260 million, according to the national narcotics agency.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 05, 2018, with the headline 'Indonesia destroys more than two tonnes of crystal meth'. Print Edition | Subscribe