Taiwanese smugglers fail, face life term in Indonesia

Staff writer, with CNA, JAKARTA

Wed, Jul 10, 2013 - Page 3

A 22-year-old Taiwanese woman, surnamed Liu (劉), and her husband who were arrested in Jakarta in May as they were trying to smuggle 14kg of ketamine through Soekarno-Hatta Jakarta International Airport could face life imprisonment, the Jakarta Post reported yesterday.

The newspaper said that unlike other suspects who declined to be filmed by the media, Liu was smiling and chatting with three other Taiwanese suspects while watching police personnel throw the illegal drugs into an incinerator.

“I was deceived and now I face drug smuggling charges and serving a long jail sentence in this beautiful country,” she said.

City Police spokesman Senior Commissioner Rikwanto said that the couple were arrested on May 27 while they were trying to bring in 14kg of ketamine, hidden in the soles of their shoes.

“The way they walked at the airport raised customs officers’ suspicions. Then, they were asked to remove their shoes for a security check,” he said, adding that the couple would not have been arrested had they not walked past the airport’s international lounge in a strange manner.

“What is happening? My husband deceived me into taking a long-distance flight and now we are in police custody and expecting harsh punishment,” Liu said in an interview with the Jakarta Post.

She added that she did not know anything about the drugs and that her husband had told her that someone would come to pick them up at the airport in exchange for money.

Liu said she was angry with her husband after discovering that his lies had led to them both being arrested, adding that she was thinking of divorcing him.

Claiming that she had never used illegal drugs, Liu admitted that she did not know of Indonesia’s strict laws on narcotics, although that would not prevent her from receiving harsh punishment.

Yueh Ying-tsung (岳瀛宗), an official from the Criminal Investigation Bureau under Taiwan’s National Police Agency, who is stationed in Indonesia, said he had met with they at the detention center and was told by local police that the couple could receive a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

Currently, about 30 Taiwanese convicted of drug trafficking are behind bars in Jakarta and Central Java in Indonesia.