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More arrests tipped in Bali heroin case -

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More arrests tipped in Bali heroin case

Reporter: Peter Lloyd

MAXINE McKEW: Well, following events all day in Denpasar has been the ABC's South-East Asia
correspondent, Peter Lloyd, and I caught up with him a short time ago. Peter, Indonesian police are
indicating, I gather, that there could be more arrests to follow. Is this based on the information
gleaned from the interrogation today?

PETER LLOYD: Maxine, from the very beginning, the Indonesian authorities have said that they
believe that there are more people involved in this conspiracy than merely those nine who've been
arrested. They haven't made clear whether they're talking there about Indonesian nationals or,
indeed, Australians who are also here in Bali and yet to make return trips to Australia.

MAXINE McKEW: Now, just bring us up to date on what's been happening today.

PETER LLOYD: Maxine, I'm standing right in front of the police cells, where the nine are being
held, and they've been paraded essentially from that space behind me, about 100 yards that way, to
the police detectives' room, where the interrogation process has begun. Today, all nine were
fingerprinted, basic details about them - their name, where they're from, their story - was taken
down by the Indonesian Drug Squad, and also a counterpart from the Australian Federal Police, based
here in Bali - he was also in the room - and the interrogation process kicked off at that point and
will resume tomorrow morning and could take many days to come.

MAXINE McKEW: Now, the nine are not being held separately, I gather?

PETER LLOYD: No. All nine suspects, the Australians, are being held together here at the Bali
police station. They're in one large police holding cell area under guard by about a half a dozen
or so police. And at some point later this evening we expect the families of some of those nine to
begin arriving here in Bali.

MAXINE McKEW: Presumably that will be quite an intense scene, once that starts to happen, because
obviously there have been comments from some of the families today, those whom the media are able
to approach. Clearly they're bewildered about all of this and they're protesting the innocence of
their family members?

PETER LLOYD: Well, that's right and, I mean, naturally enough. Parents would always defend their
children's honesty in these situations and also, they are clearly people who are deeply shocked at
the suddenness of this. Many of these people have children who are very young, on their first
journey, at the very least, to Indonesia, possibly overseas, and in the case of Andrew Chan, a
21-year-old Sydney man who is being described by the Indonesian authorities as the godfather of
this conspiracy, his family didn't even know that he had left the country.

MAXINE McKEW: Now, he was talking to the press today. What did he have to say for himself?

PETER LLOYD: Andrew Chan is the only one of the nine who spoke out today to the press and,
essentially, launched a very strong defence of the claim that he is the godfather of this alleged
conspiracy. He said that he was not caught with any drugs. He is accused of being on board the
plane ready to leave, but not in the possession himself of drugs. And he says that's just not true,
that he was here on a holiday and that he is claiming, essentially, that they've done a Schapelle
Corby, that the Indonesian authorities have fitted him up. And he is defiantly insisting he is no
godfather, he's just a tourist.

MAXINE McKEW: There's another interesting point here. I'm wondering if there's been any comment
from the Indonesian police as to why they in fact moved to make these arrests, when they did,
instead of allowing the nine perhaps to board the plane and be apprehended in Australia?

PETER LLOYD: Well, the Indonesian authorities have made it very clear from the beginning of this
process that this is their case. The Australians brought it to them, sure, but for the last 10
weeks, they've been taking the running and have been following these people's whereabouts here in
Bali, and they were stopped short of leaving the country. And, as far as the Indonesians are
concerned, this is a crime that was committed in this country and, as a result, will be prosecuted
here in this country, regardless of the fact that the eventual potential penalty these people face
is far harsher - it's death by firing squad in Indonesia, compared to, in Australia, a conviction
for trafficking of heroin of several years in jail.

MAXINE McKEW: And that, of course, has led to the charge that's been made by the Council for Civil
Liberties today that, in fact, Australia is guilty of exporting the death penalty because of the
tip-off from the AFP to the Indonesian police?

PETER LLOYD: Indeed, but the Indonesians counter here by saying, effectively, look at it from the
other point of view. What if some Indonesian nationals were caught at Sydney Airport trying to
export drugs to this country? Is that a crime that should be prosecuted in Australia, since that is
where the drugs are being trans-shipped from, or is this a problem for them here in their
jurisdiction? The Indonesians say, well, it's pretty clear that this is our case, drugs in this
country, these people committed the crime here, in a country where it's quite well known that the
penalties for such an offence are extremely high. You can't get off a plane, for example, at
Denpasar Airport without at least twice being told or reading that the penalty for drug trafficking
in this country is death.

MAXINE McKEW: And just a final quick point, Peter - any idea of when the nine are likely to be

PETER LLOYD: Well, Maxine, under Indonesian law, they can be held for quite a good deal of time
while the investigation continues - up to 70 days at the bare minimum to be held here at this
police operations centre in Denpasar. That's before being charged. Then, at that point, when
they're charged, they'll be handed over to the prosecution and essentially they will become the
prosecution's prisoners. They'll be moved to a jail, probably the same one where Schapelle Corby is
currently in residence, and there begins what will be a very lengthy process of them being brought
to trial - perhaps as a group or as individuals, it's not clear - and that will take many months,
even years, for that process to be completed.

MAXINE McKEW: Peter Lloyd, for that, thank you very much indeed.

PETER LLOYD: Thank you, Maxine.