Grim Outlook for Taiwanese Arrested on Drug Charges in Indonesia

Grim Outlook for Taiwanese Arrested on Drug Charges in Indonesia
Photo Credit: Reuters / 達志影像

What you need to know

Five Taiwanese nationals arrested in Indonesia on drug-related offences may face the death penalty as Jokowi continues to wage his War on Drugs.

Five Taiwanese nationals have been arrested in northern Jakarta, Indonesia, in connection with the discovery of 60 kg of methamphetamine, commonly known as crystal meth, in an apartment on Aug. 18.

Indonesian police say the drugs were supplied by a Taiwanese international drug ring.

Central News Agency reports that the six suspects were arrested at the seaside resort area of Ancol, where the drugs were found. Along with the five Taiwanese nationals, one Indonesian citizen was also arrested. The suspects are being questioned by police.

Indonesia is known for executing foreign nationals who bring drugs into the country.

▶ See also: “FEATURE: Clock Ticks as Indonesian Execution Spree Looms”

In January, three Taiwanese drug traffickers were sentenced to death by the Indonesian Supreme Court. Three other Taiwanese men were arrested and charged with drug trafficking on May 20.

Indonesia's military chief Commander General Moeldoko and National Police Chief General Badrodin Haiti pose with members of the military and police after a briefing in Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara
Indonesia's military chief Commander General Moeldoko (centre, on L) and National Police Chief General Badrodin Haiti (R) pose with members of the military and police after a briefing in Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara, May 7, 2015 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Nearly two decades after Indonesia's military was squeezed out of civilian affairs with the downfall of strongman leader Suharto, President Joko Widodo is drawing the army more closely into his wars on drugs, terrorism, and corruption. Picture taken May 7. REUTERS/Kornelis Kaha/Antara Foto

Indonesia is reportedly Southeast Asia’s biggest drug market, with 4.5 million users.

The country had a de-facto moratorium on the use of the death penalty until 2013, and human rights activists blame President Joko Widodo (often referred to as Jokowi) for restarting capital punishment.

Jokowi implemented a large-scale “War on Drugs” after he took office in 2014, and the number of drug-related sentences and executions, particularly of foreigners, has increased under his leadership.

The country’s capital punishment policy has been the target of much international criticism; last year after it carried out 14 executions several ambassadors left Jakarta in protest and Brazil refused the credentials of an incoming Indonesian ambassador.

Phelim Kine, deputy director of Human Rights Watch's Asia division, told The News Lens International that Indonesia’s “tragically misguided and wrongheaded” drugs policy could see more than 40 people executed by the end of 2017.


First Editor: Edward White
Second Editor: J. Michael Cole