December 24 2014

December 24, 2014

Aust Embassies Limit Consular Help for ‘Reckless’ Travelers

Australians who over-use consular services overseas when they find themselves in trouble may have restricted access to diplomatic support, under a new consular strategy launched today. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has warned Australians traveling abroad that they cannot assume that their embassy or consulate staff will bail them out. “Our consular staff are not there to pay for the repairs to your jet ski,” the minister said. “They are not there to pay your hotel bill. They are not there to lend you a laptop or to provide you with office space in the embassy for you to do your work. Consular officers cannot get you out of jail or issue you with a passport so you can evade justice. Consular assistance is a last-resort service.” She said it should “not be seen as a right – it is a privilege”. Julie Bishop said Australian diplomats dealt with 1300 consular cases overseas every day and approximately 1000 Australians on average were in jail or detention overseas at any given time. But she said there was a limit to what diplomats could do to help and Australians had to take more personal responsibility when they traveled overseas. She urged people to take out travel insurance and be aware of the limits of diplomatic assistance. “Australians must understand that travel insurance is not an optional extra. If you cannot afford insurance, you cannot afford to travel.” (Dec. 3rd 2014)

Number Of ISIS Recruits In Indonesia More than Tripled In Recent Months

The Islamic State group’s recruitment numbers in Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim nation, have tripled in the last few months to at least 514, the nation’s counterterrorism chief said. Saud Usman Nasution also said Monday (8/12) that about half the recruits who have gone to fight in Syria and Iraq for the group, also known as ISIS, had been living in nearby countries as students or migrant workers. “In June 2014, the number of ISIS followers embarking from Indonesia was 86. The number soared to 264 in October,” Saud said on the sidelines of a recent meeting of Nahdlatul Ulama, the nation’s largest Muslim organization, the Straits Times reported. Since June, when ISIS rose to significant power, Indonesia has been closely monitoring its recruitment efforts. The state intelligence agency has been keeping tabs on recruitment by monitoring those who have a record of terrorism activities. According to reports from Al Monitor in October, Indonesia’s capacity to follow and control ISIS supporters is limited because of its weak law enforcement. A report published by the Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict (IPAC) in September said the development of ISIS support began in an online chat room that was run by the founder of Al-Muhajiroun, a terrorist organization based in the U.K. in 2005. The founder of that chat room began organizing events across Indonesian cities to convince people there to pledge allegiance to ISIS. (Dec. 10th 2014)

NZ Man Facing Death Penalty over Drug Smuggling Charges in Bali

NZ man Anthony Glen de Malmanche, 52, is facing the death penalty after he flew into Bali from Hong Kong with a suspicious package allegedly containing drugs. His cousin Jim says he traveled to Hong Kong to see a woman he’d met online and may have been led astray by the prospect of love, Radio Live reported. De Malmanche told police his bride-to-be would also be coming to Bali where they planned to marry, airport’s head of customs office Budi Harjanto told reporters in Bali. “Whether it’s true or not, we don’t know. Maybe it’s just a lie, especially when we waited for four days, the woman is not coming.” De Malmanche was acting suspiciously when taking his luggage on Monday morning (1/12). An x-ray identified an object in his backpack, which turned out to be a package with clear plastic wrapping, wrapped in duct tape, containing 1709 grams of crystal methamphetamine. De Malmanche is facing drugs charges, which carry maximum penalties of death and a 1 billion rupiah fine. (Dec. 4th 2014)

Magic Mushrooms Will Send You to Prison, say Bali Police

Next month marks the end of tolerance for magic mushrooms, say Bali Police. The psilocybin mushroom aka magic mushrooms was classified as type 1 narcotics since earlier this year, but police say they haven’t been coming down too hard on violators because a large number of the public do not yet know consuming them is now criminal and could result in a prison term. “If we find any people selling or consuming magic mushrooms, we will arrest them. They could face the same charges as those using marijuana and other drugs, a minimum four-year and maximum 12-year prison term,” Ganefo said. A long time favorite of Bali tourists, magic mushrooms used to be sold in dozens of warungs and restaurants in Bali, especially in Kuta. But as tempting as they can be, they are hallucinogenic and could result in death, said Ganefo, citing a case several years ago when a foreigner died after jumping off a hotel balcony post mushroom consumption. (Dec. 12th 2014)

Bali Bomb Victim Turns Golf Pro

A businessman injured so badly in a terrorist attack that nurses thought he had been killed, has now become a pro golfer despite losing both of his legs. Ben Tullipan, 38, was the closest person to the one-tonne car bomb that exploded outside a nightclub in Bali in 2002, in which 202 people died, including 88 Australians and 27 Britons, and 240 were injured. The furniture exporter from Australia lost both of his legs, most of his stomach muscles, suffered more than 63 per cent burns, lost hearing in one ear and spent months in a coma. But, after being given just a five per cent chance of survival, he is hitting back on the green and is now a successful prize-winning golfer. Ben has managed to bring his handicap down to 16 and can strike the ball 250 meters and has played in tournaments for disabled players around the world, including Bali. ‘I never played golf prior to the Bali Bombings yet it has now become a passion of mine since taking up the sport seven years ago to help with my rehabilitation,’ said Mr. Tullipan. ‘When I’m on the golf course, I’m not an amputee I’m just another player.’ The defiant dad-of-two, who still receives weekly treatment for his injuries, insists that he will not let the terrorists behind the bombings beat him. (Dec. 2nd 2014)

Police Sober Up to Rising Number of Deaths From Bootleg Liquor

Indonesian police and local authorities across Indonesia are stepping up their efforts to crack down on the production and distribution of bootleg liquor that has killed dozens of people in recent days. The death toll from a drinking party last week in Garut, West Java, climbed to 16 as of Sunday (7/12), with more people hospitalized after drinking moonshine made with industrial methanol. Those confirmed dead from methanol poisoning ranged in age from 15 to 22 years. In a separate incident, 10 people died last Thursday and several more were left seriously ill after drinking moonshine in Sumedang district, also in West Java. Police there have arrested and charged a 28-year-old man with supplying the liquor, for which he could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted. Dewi Prawitasari, the head of Indonesia’s Food and Drug Monitoring Agency, or BPOM, a regulatory body, called on consumers not to mix any liquor products, including legal ones, with other substances, as it might increase the likelihood of poisoning. (Dec. 8th 2014)

Bali Drug Convicts Safe for Now

The executions of five drug convicts in Indonesia this month will reportedly not include two Australians being held in Bali. More than 60 people are sitting on death row in Indonesian prisons, but only five people have exhausted their legal appeals. “They will be executed after a letter from the attorney-general is signed by the president,” the co-coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs, Tedjo Edi Purdjianto, said. Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, members of the Bali Nine, have had a clemency request before the president for more than two years. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has been contacted seeking further information. However, the Jakarta Globe quoted Basuni Masyarif, Indonesia’s deputy attorney-general for general crimes, as saying two of the five prisoners to be executed before the end of the year are Nigerians. He said all five were in prisons away from Bali – ruling out Chan and Sukumaran, who are being held in the island’s Kerobokan jail. Basuni also told the Globe the government will execute at least 10 prisoners each year, to reduce the backlog of people who have been handed the death penalty. (Dec. 4th 2014)

Russian Woman Arrested in Bali for Smuggling 2.1 Kilograms of Crystal Meth

Custom officials at Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali have arrested a Russian woman for attempting to smuggle 2.1 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine into Indonesia. Alexandra Magnaeva, 26, was arrested on Sunday (7/12) shortly after disembarking her flight from Hong Kong. Police said customs agents noticed she was behaving suspiciously. When her luggage was opened a package of crystal meth, wrapped in carbon paper to avoid X-Ray scanning, was found hidden in a compartment. Magnaeva admitted to officials this was her tenth delivery and she had trafficked drugs in other countries previously, Budi Harjanto, head of the Ngurah Rai customs office, told Police suspect Magnaeva’s boyfriend, whom she lived with in his rented Hong Kong apartment, was involved in the alleged smuggling operation. The couple met through social media, police said. Her boyfriend has been identified only as “P.” Magnaeva could be charged with violating the 2009 Narcotics Law, which carries a maximum sentence of death if found guilty. (Dec. 11th 2014)

Death Toll in Central Java Landslide 39 and Rising

The death toll in the major landslide that engulfed Jemblung village in Banjarnegara, Central Java rose to 39 on Sunday (14/12) evening, according to the National Disaster Mitigation Board (BNPB). “Preliminary data show 39 people have been found dead and 69 others are believed still to be buried by landslide,” BNPB Deputy Head for Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Section Harmensyah said. Nearly 2,000 volunteers from the Indonesian Military, Police, Search and Rescue Agency, and Regional Disaster Mitigation Boards joined the search for the bodies of the landslide victims, he said. “After all bodies of dead victims have been discovered, the next step is deciding whether the survivors will live in rented houses or will be resettled to other area. He said almost all areas in the district are prone to landslide and therefore, local residents should stay alert for landslides particularly if there are heavy rains. (Dec. 14th 2014)