Indonesia’s anti-drugs boss has improbably claimed the archipelago has the “biggest” illicit narcotics market in the world, claiming that 72 international drug syndicates were detected last year.
Commissioner General Budi Waseso said Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody “war on drugs” had led to an increase in trafficking in Indonesia.
“Indonesia is even the biggest [drugs] market in the world, in my opinion,” Waseso told ABC, exposing a lack of knowledge of Latin America.
“The market that existed in the Philippines is moving to Indonesia, the impact of President Duterte’s actions is an exodus to Indonesia, including the substance. I will not follow or copy it, I don’t even support it,” Waseso said.
It marked a U-turn for the drugs chief who was advocating a similar campaign last September.
Observers dispute Jakarta’s drugs data.
“The statistics are flawed,” Human Rights Watch researcher Andreas Harsono told CNN. “Then what is the result? Over the last few years because of that statistical problem the prison density in Indonesia is worsening … I have a personal friend who was caught with two milligrams of sabu-sabu [crystal meth]. He got seven years.”
Waseso repeated his calls for a prison island for drug offenders guarded by crocodiles.
“Crocodiles are one option, could be piranhas or tigers,” the drug buster said of the proposal which he has raised with the president.
The drugs tsar said his team’s research showed that 50 per cent of Indonesian drug trafficking was controlled from prisons and blamed staff shortages.
He said Cipinang Prison in Jakarta had 20 staff overseeing 3,730 prisoners, which included drugs kingpins who had Wifi and air-conditioning.
“We can’t solve the problem using normal methods.”
He did, however, add that he had no sympathy for drug suspects who were killed by the authorities because he regarded them as “murderers”.
More than 7,000 suspected drug users and dealers have been killed by police and vigilantes since Duterte came to office in May last year.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo and National Police Chief Tito Karnavian in recent days have both ordered police to shoot drug offenders who resist arrest.
“Be firm, especially to foreign drug dealers who enter the country and resist arrest,” Widodo said, after an alleged Taiwanese drug smuggler was shot dead by police.
“Shoot them because we indeed are in a narcotics emergency position now.”
Indonesia’s poverty pushes people into the drug trade. Picture credit: Wikimedia