Eight Taiwanese on trial in Indonesia for alleged involvement in a drug smuggling operation have appealed for leniency, saying that they were unwitting victims.
The eight men, who were arrested in July last year over the shipment of 1 tonne of crystal methamphetamine from China on a Taiwan-registered yacht, recently appeared for the first time in a district court south of Jakarta.
One man, Chuang Chin-sheng (莊金生), read a letter to the court expressing remorse and pleading for leniency, according to the Indonesian newspaper Kompas.
The eight could face the death penalty if convicted.
Chuang told the court that said he started working on the boat after his former employer went bankrupt, leaving him short of money for his parents’ medical expenses.
The job on the yacht was arranged by a friend and he did not know what the work entailed or that the boat was carrying drugs, he said.
Defendant Kuo Chun-yuan (郭春源) told the court that he bitterly regretted taking the job on the boat and he also pleaded ignorance.
Kuo said he was “set up” because he was told that the boat was transporting agricultural goods from Taiwan to Indonesia.
The other six defendants are Chen Wei-chuan (陳威全), Hsu Yung-li (徐勇立), Liao Kuan-yu (廖冠宇), Tsai Chih-hung (蔡志鴻), Sun Kuo-tai (孫國泰) and Sun Chih-feng (孫志峰).
Announcing the indictment in January, prosecutor Abun Hasbullah asked for the death penalty for all eight for contravening Article 114 of the Narcotics Law and related provisions.
According to the prosecutor’s statement, Chen, Liao and another Taiwanese, Lin Ming-hui (林明輝), were waiting at Anyer Beach in Banten Province to offload the amphetamine, which was being brought in by the others on the boat.
Lin, who authorities said was the ring leader, was shot to death when police raided the drop site.
Hsu was later arrested in the Anyer area.
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