A 43-year-old man, known to the press only by his initials TN, has been arrested for being in possession of drugs in Bali. Police have shared that the man comes from Japan and has been in Bali for over a year. He entered the country on a tourist visa and is said to be a digital nomad using Bali as a long-term home base. Little more detail about TN has been released at this time.
The Denpasar Police launched a seven-day operation that led to the arrest of 23 people for drug-related offenses. TN and fifteen Indonesian citizens were arrested for being in possession of and dealing illegal narcotics. Though they were living in Bali, only one of the 23 was Balinese. Nine of them were from Java, three were from Sumatra, one from Sulawesi, and another from West Nusa Tenggara.
Police have confirmed that the drugs seized all came from outside of Bali. Police suggested that the fifteen were working together, or at very least knew of each other as part of a drug-dealing circle. The investigations for each case remain open although the 23 arrestees have been detained, processed and charged for their offenses.
The Denpasar Police held a press conference on the 30th of May to share the details of their operation with the media. As is usual in these kinds of conferences the confiscated drugs were laid out on tables as proof of the success of the operation. Over the course of the week, they had confiscated 14.3g of methamphetamine and huge amounts of marijuana and synthetic marijuana known as gorilla tobacco.
Speaking at the press conference Deputy Police Chief Senior Commissioner Waya Jiartana said that ‘From the results of this month’s operation, the Denpasar Police, in this case, the Narcotics Unit, has saved 30,000 Balinese lives from narcotics abuse’.
As a foreigner, TN will experience the full force of the Indonesian legal system. Indonesia is actively cracking down on drug use and will want to ensure that foreigners understand that drug use is not tolerated in any circumstances. These kinds of sting operations are very common in Bali.
The 23 people arrested have been charged and are awaiting trial. They are all facing huge fines and long jail sentences. There are 65 substances listed on Indonesia’s narcotics legislation. To be caught in the possession of these substances can leave to a minimum of 4-years in prison, with a maximum sentence of 20 years.
Fines start at IDR 800 million (USD 55,000) and can go up to over IDR 8 billion (USD 55 million). Indonesia is one of fifty-five countries in the world that still have the death penalty and there are inmates on death row in Bali’s infamous Kerobokan Prison for drug crimes. Indonesia’s death penalty is death by firing squad.
It is not yet known whether TN will get a lengthy jail sentence or a significant fine. The Consulate General of Japan will likely have been informed of his case and will be supporting the investigation and ensuring TN’s wellbeing is taken into consideration.
The Bali Narcotics Police Units have been running a number of sting operations in recent weeks. The Tabanan Police Narcotics Unit arrested a serving Indonesian Army Officer earlier in May for being in possession of methamphetamine. On the 14th of May, the son of Bali Senator Putu Parawata was arrested and charged with being in possession of nearly half a kilo of marijuana.
Travelers, ex-pats, and long-term visitors to Bali are reminded that the island has a zero-tolerance approach to drugs. Although substances like marijuana are becoming legalized around the world, Indonesia views recreational drugs in the same way as hard drugs.
Products that contain derivatives of the marijuana including CBD products and hemp oils have also been the focus of criminal investigations of foreigners in Bali in recent years.
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