Preventing migrant workers from becoming drug couriers

Preventing migrant workers from becoming drug couriers

Photo document of the Indonesian National Police (Polri) captures the results of the international syndicate smuggling narcotics into Indonesia. (ANTARA)

Therefore, Indonesia is now in a state of emergency due to drugs."
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Last year, the South China Morning Post had reported that Hong Kongs triad was targeting Indonesian migrant workers to smuggle drugs into the workers own country.

Organized crime gangs from Hong Kong and southern China had long been key players in Indonesias illicit drugs market, but recent cases indicate that they have been adopting a diverse range of tactics.

According to domestic helpers rights groups, maids could be an easy prey for drug rings looking for couriers, the media wrote.

The migrant workers were given money for carrying illicit drugs to Indonesia. These were usually concealed in their luggage, under their clothes or inside their shoes. Some packages were sent ahead by the syndicates, and recruited migrant workers were told to collect them upon their arrival in Jakarta.

For the past several years, many major drug smuggling attempts into Indonesia had originated from China, Hong Kong or Malaysia.

Currently, as many as 38 Indonesian workers are in jail in Hong Kong in drug related cases.

To prevent more migrant workers from falling into the trap of drug mafia, Chief of the National Narcotic Agency (BNN) Commissioner General Budi Waseso visited Hong Kong from August 11 to 13, 2016.

Waseso spoke to a gathering of Indonesian migrant workers in Hong Kong and warned them not to be fooled by drug traffickers.

"You are here to earn a better income, and make a better life for your families in Indonesia. You have traveled so far to this country, so now do not end up as drug couriers and going to prison. Prison might not be that bad, but what about capital punishment?" he asked the workers.

He reminded the workers, mostly women, to not be fooled by strangers, especially those from Pakistan and Western Africa.

"They are very good at flattery. After flattering you, they will give you a lot of money and goods, with the final aim to turn you into drug couriers. The destination is Indonesia, and drugs come from various countries, including the Middle East. Therefore, Indonesia is now in a state of emergency due to drugs," he told the workers.

He also reminded them not to use and buy drugs, and instead send their money to their children and parents in their hometowns.

During his stay in Hong Kong, Waseso held a meeting with Commissioner of Drug Bureau of Hong Kong, Stephen Lo, to discuss anti-drug cooperation.

The anti-drug agency is intensifying the anti-drug campaign against Indonesians overseas, particularly migrants living in countries prone to drug smuggling activities.

The agency has a program to familiarize the National Action Plan on Illicit Drug Abuse and Trafficking Eradication (P4GN) for Indonesians overseas, according to Waseso.

His agency also plans to send representatives to those countries to introduce the action plan, and establish effective cooperation with them, he added.

The BNN recently seized 15 kg of crystal methamphetamine smuggled from China, and arrested L (42), a Taiwanese, for drug trafficking.

"After spying for two months, officers managed to catch the suspect L with meth as evidence, kept in a car parked in Mediterania Apartment area, Gajah Mada, West Java, last Saturday (July 30)," Waseso said in Jakarta on August 2.

The agency is still investigating the case to track down the mastermind behind meth smuggling and a possible drug warehouse in Indonesia," Waseso added.

By seizing 15 kg of methamphetamine, BNN has saved 75 lives from hazards of drug abuse, he said.

The country has more than five million drug users, mostly young people. Between 30 to 50 Indonesians, mostly youth, die daily due to drug addiction.

Having declared a drug emergency status in Indonesia, the nation is one of the few countries to have imposed the harshest drug laws in the world.

On July 29 this year, four death row inmates convicted for drug trafficking were executed. Among them were three Nigerians while the fourth was an Indonesian.

Last year, Indonesia had executed 14 drug convicts including an Indonesian, a Nigerian, a Brazilian, a Dutch, a Vietnamese and two Australians.

Earlier this month, Budi Waseso had met President Joko Widodo at the State Palace in Jakarta to report the cooperation arrangements arrived at with ASEAN countries and other nations to deal with the problem of drug distribution.

Waseso vowed that his agency will continue to explore even better ways of eradicating drugs with the Chinese government and other countries from where drugs allegedly come into Indonesia.

"Modern warfare does not involve firearms. Rather, the lethal weapon is drugs. This is what we are trying to combat as it has become a global problem," the Chief argued.

The President has asked the Agency to continue coordinating with anti-drug institutions of countries suspected to have supplied illicit drugs to Indonesia.

"He hopes that the drug issue can be resolved by dealing with it in the countries where these are manufactured before the contraband can reach Indonesia," Waseso concluded.
(T.F001/INE/B003/KR-BSR/B003)

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