Thursday, October 22, 2009

Traffic

Renee Lawrence . . one of the Bali Nine upon hearing her sentence

Someone was going to do it this Thursday but . . I don't understand what makes young, everything-to-live-for people, become mules in the drug trafficking world. I can almost understand a young South American rose processor living in abject poverty being tempted to take heroin or cocaine into the US for money that might save a family member's life. I can understand an Afghan poppy grower who makes his livelihood growing a crop where he never sees its deadly consequence. I can understand the same of the Burmese Triangle . .simple men who grow a lucrative crop of innocent flowers to feed the world's addiction . .I don't like the processors, the manufacturers, the traffickers who take advantage of these people to finance their own ends.

What I don't understand is an 18 year old Australian who takes the stuff into Indonesia thinking for a minute that they won't get caught.
Even now, the Bali Nine . . kids, not the smartest tools in the shed . . cajoled by the promise of a holiday and a few thousand dollars strapped kilos of heroin to their bodies with the intention of bringing it back to Australia and of course were caught at the Denpassur departure gate. Much has been made of the Australian Federal Police because had they been arrested on entry into Australia, their sentence would have been lighter. But no, they were tipped off in Indonesia and that's where they are today.

Bali is a popular Indonesian holiday destination . . especially for Australians. It's cheap, it's close, it's beautiful, it's corrupt and it's politically and ideologically dangerous. These guys thought they'd get away with it. They were arrested on April 17, 2005. Four years later they're still awaiting their fate when they should be partying hard and enjoying life.
These nine are now languishing in a foreign country, in a prison where money talks and awaiting a range of sentences from life to death. Three of the nine - Andrew Chan, Myuran Sukumaran and Scott Rush - are on death row, while the other six were handed sentences of 20 years in jail or life imprisonment. You'd think that just months after Shapel Corby received a life sentence for importing kilos of cannibis within a body board bag, they'd have more sense. All nine, caught together.

When my son and his girlfriend ventured to Thailand in 2008 he was totally paranoid about someone putting drugs in his bags or being arrested for trafficking even though the most toxic thing in his luggage was toothpaste. Special combination locks were installed on their bags to prevent access and he was seriously freaking out in case someone 'planted' something in his bags.
Not so these 9 who thought about the quick buck and now have to deal with the long haul. Whilst these kids await their fate . . .3 years later . . we're no closer to catching the real culprits. Who are the traffickers . . the mules or their masters?

38 comments:

i beati said...

I'm with you - strange sk

Ravyn said...

Wow, never heard of these people, but what a horrible way to end up - I don't get it either - I'll have to read up some more on this. Thanks for posting.

Brian Miller said...

we just had a huge bust here in town...traced it back 4 layers deep, confiscating truck loads...involving kids, sucks! i know a kids, 11, who was busted distributing for his dad at school.

California Girl said...

This is terribly sad. These kids rreally don't think. They don't see the harm and they don't think they'll be caught. Death sentence? That's insane. The pushers are the culprits. Not to say the kids shouldn't be punished but, let's face it, their crime is minimal compared to those who distribute the heroin.

And we're fighting in Afghanistan to preserve that way of life? (Heroin growers, I mean)

Roy said...

Hmmmm... That's a take on the theme that I never thought of. Thanks for making Theme Thursday a lot more interesting and informative, Baino!

nick said...

They must have been pretty naive to think they'd get away with it. Didn't they realise how vigilant airport staff and police are? What amazes me even more is the ones who swallow huge quantities of toxic drugs risking horrible consequences if they leach into the body.

Wings said...

Sometimes, reality is scarier than anything made up.

mouse (aka kimy) said...

yikes, what a story.

always great to stumble on a different take on a theme.

well done.

happy theme thursday1

Ribbon said...

I had forgotten about these people...
I'm sure their parents think of them everyday.

Very sad.

Renee said...

This is so devastating.

I hate drugs and all that they do to people and their lives. But ....

Get the masters is what needs to be done.

Love Renee xoxo

Betsy said...

I wondered if anyone would take this approach to traffic! Great job!

Susan at Stony River said...

Unbelievable. So many lives wasted for such a stupid mistake.

tut-tut said...

I had thought about writing something concerning human trafficking, but stayed with the auto/truck type. There is an absolutely appalling movie starring the usually sane Liam Neeson called Taken, concerning Albanians, white slavery, and a large Arab Sheik!

AngelMay said...

Yes, drug trafficking. I mentioned it only in passing in my post. There is something about youth that makes them feel invincible. They have forever, so they think. Those of us who have little time left (compared to what we have already lived) value it much more highly. Like tut-tut, I also considered posting about human trafficking but that is just SO depressing.

VE said...

Good angle for the theme, you are the only one to take it. Sad and stupid about those 9. As "the Dude" would say, "That's a bummer, man"

Gledwood said...

If I were one of them I'd appeal against a life sentence and ask for death! Why go on living like that?

Gledwood said...

PS I wish they'd bring back the death penalty here. Kill the bastards!

Gledwood said...

ps talking about heroin in Austalia ... I heard years ago that "heroin is the cheapest drug"... (in Melbourne) blah blah...

ie that it's cheaper in Australia than anywhere else...

this is rubbish! We are actually NEARER Afghanistan than Australia is to Burma... these young Australians have such problems bc heroin is imported into Australia in an amateur way... here multihundred kilo shipments go into Britain direct by lorry... something to do with Turkish/albanian criminal gangs (well I would't know)...

... my point is.. at least this saves wasted young lives like those poor nine. And even though I'm an addict I do feel sorry for them

Kate said...

You really said it all when you wrote about your son being paranoid about drugs being planted on him. Maybe we should look again at upbringing and why some kids don't get caught up in this game!
Or is it - there but for the grace of God go I? - I don't know, just find it so sad.....

Darlene said...

It is always the bottom rung that get punished for crime. Just look at our former pres. and VP enjoying life when they are the ones that ordered torture, while the ones who carried out their orders languish in jail.

We must teach our kids that they are not invulnerable and to obey the laws. But a death penalty or life is punishment so extreme that it in no way fits the crime. Poor kids and their poor families.

nonamedufus said...

Interesting take on the theme. I recall seeing a documentary recently about Shapel Corby. I guess it remains to be seen whether she knew about the stuff in her bag or not. Sometime later police busted a bunch of luggage handlers in a scheme to smuggle drugs in passangers' luggage. Hmmm...

Kate Hanley said...

Great post in that there is a lot to chew on. I suppose you have to arrest the mules at least to discourage future kids from trying it and hopefully break the drug trade that way. But really, what a horrible fate to pay for a stupid mistake. When we're young, we just think we're invincible. I completely understand your son's paranoia. I'd feel the same as well.

e said...

An interesting and informative post. I feel for these kids and their families despite knowing what some go through to get off heroin. If people could see the results of their actions, we might make a better world, although I'm skeptical about that at this point.

Ronda Laveen said...

What a waste of life. I feel for their parents. I had not heard this story in the states. Great take on TT, Baino.

RyanIAm said...

If those idiots were dumb enough to do it, I'm glad the feds tipped off Indonesia. Saves me paying to push them through our penitentiary system. Let them rot over there for all I care.

Do the crime, do the time.

Coffee Messiah said...

Life is strange, isn't it?????

Bimbimbie said...

It's a hard way to learn you have to be responsible for your own choices and actions but sadly people just don't learn from what happened to others - remember Barlow & Chambers trying the same thing in Malaysia in the 80's.

Megan said...

Wow. I hadn't heard this story, either. Those poor, deluded kids. :( What a waste.

The Man at the Pub said...

They probably thought they had a good chance of success because statistically they do. Lots of heroin is successfully smuggled into Australia. It's risky, but being caught is not a certainty.

I also think its sad your son was so worried about his luggage. I think the media has a lot to answer for these unfounded fear. Hundreds of thousands of Aussies go to SE Asia every year, and only a couple are caught with drugs, and most of them plead guilty anyway, so the bag planting theory is a myth designed to give guilty people a defence. In fact Schapelle is the only Aussie that maintains the drug planting defence. Tourists are far more likely to die in an accident or Tsunami in SE Asia than have drugs planted on them.

Dreamhaven said...

So sad but A true traffic post. Their only hope is prayer and a good lawyer.

River said...

"Who are the traffickers..the mules or their masters?"
It's the masters of course. People like them think of the mules as completely disposable. The poor mules? The quick buck is never a good idea. What if you brought stuff home without getting caught? Then later, (months or years, doesn't matter), your own siblings or even your children got addicted somehow and you remembered what you'd done to contribute to this?
People need to see the big picture, not just a quick dollar.

Baino said...

I don't get it. I left responses to all of your comments this morning then Blogger had a wipeout. I haven't been able to access blogs since 3:30 this afternoon. So quickly:

Sandy their country, their rules. Nothing strange about it unfortunately.

Ravyn I'm surprised you hadn't heard about it. Happens more often than we'd like.

Brian, kids are invincible and easy targets to mule drugs.

Cali, they're not the sharpest tools in the shed and so many do get away with it that it's a tempting proposition for a nice holiday and a couple of thousand dollars. I don't know why we're not helping Afghans farm a more lucrative crop.

Thanks Roy. . . I thought more would have gone there.

Naive doesn't cut it Nick but when you're young and stupid, you know it 'wont't happen to me'

That it is Wings. But these kids should have known better.

Kim, it's old news but worked for the theme. They're still languishing in Denpassar awaiting their fate.

The parents I feel for Ribbon . . .they traipse back and forth, ensure they have bribe money and just wait.

Renee, you rarely hear of the masterminds being caught. Just the suckers.

As I said Betsy, I thought more would. I haven't read a blog yet about people trafficking either, I thought someone might.

I'm not sure it's a mistake Suze. They know the consequences, they just didn't think it would happen to them. It's well known that if you try to smuggle drugs in East Asia, the penalties are high.

Quite s Angel, live fast, die young . . sounds romantic until reality hits.

Ah Gleds, I thought you'd chime in poppet. I don't know what heroin costs here but judgeing from 3 million needles each year, distributed via the needle exchange program . .there's plenty of it about.

Amazing isn't it Kate. We now have the option to shrink wrap luggage here . . not much point since it's broken by customs in most countries. At least you know your luggage has left in a safe state.

Darlene, they KNOW the consequences. They just don't think they're going to get caught. Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia make a big noise about drug trafficking being a death penalty crime. These kids should have known better.

Noname . . Shapelle is now a neurotic mess and we're still trying to get her back on a prisoner exchange . There was something VERY fishy about that one. I think her brother was involved. The family are far from perfect.

Kate I couldn't agree more. Invincible and stupid.

Take a look at Gledwood's site in my sidebar, He struggles daily. His life has changed. I live in hope that he'll shake it but in reality. I don't think he can. It's grip is vice-like and debilitating.

Rhonda I feel for them too . .we love our kids and none expect them to be so stupid.

Ryan . .that's harsh. They are not smart. None of them. And actually I'm angry that the Feds tipped off the Indonesians knowing that the death penalty was likely. They would still have paid for the crime here but wouldn't be facing the firing squad. And your tax dollars are paying for their defence and the battle for prisoner exchange.

Stranger than fiction Coffee.

I can't believe you didn't hear it. Big story over here but admittedly 3 years ago. things have gone quiet since.

He was! It was his first time overseas on his own with his Girlfriend travelling to Thailand. He bought special locks so that you can tell if they've been tampered with. You're so right about Shapelle though, definitely something odd there.

Sadly, Dreamhaven, their defense has to be played out by an Indonesian lawyer. No disrespect to Indonesians but the country is corrupt and their legal system not to be trusted.

River how is it we never hear of the actual drug lords being captured. Captains of industry, respectable businessmen . . makes you wonder. I'm sure for every one captured half a dozen are successful.

Candie Bracci said...

Sad sad reality

Rowe said...

I would just hate this to happen to one of my kids. It's a tragic situation, really. So young and locked up in a foreign jail. I wouldn't like to be locked up in any jail, but at least on one's own turf there's more chance you'll have family and friends to visit.

otin said...

Very troubling! There was a movie called "Return to Paradise", that dealt with a similar situation.

tony said...

as Always with the drugs trade, the Fat Cats who rake in all the profit never seem to be caught.

jay said...

It's completely incomprehensible to me, too, Baino. I'm like your son, terrified to travel anywhere I might be mistaken for a smuggler or have my luggage tampered with. There is nothing which would make me risk imprisonment in a foreign (non-English-speaking) country, especially those with harsh penalties, including death. No, not even a dinner date with Johnny. It's simply not worth it. Absolutely stupid.

I'm sorry for the teenagers, but to be honest, I'm more sorry for their parents. :(

Gledwood said...

... yeah who cares what it bloody costs. Heroin is relative. So whatever you take, that's what you're addicted to and the addiction's severity has as much to do with length of time taking the drug as much as how much taken, I'm sure ~ (ie the dose is immaterial).

I decided if I'm going to Asia I'll go to Japan. It's the only country I know of that interests me out there (and for some reason I always look east for exotic places to travel) that doesn't have a druggy-tourist underbelly reputation.