Australian police defend tip that led to executions

2015-05-04 20:21
Andrew Chan. (Jewel Samad, AFP)

Andrew Chan. (Jewel Samad, AFP)

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Sydney - Australian federal police on Monday defended their decision to inform Indonesian authorities in 2005 about the heroin smuggling operation that ultimately led to last week's execution of two Australians.

Police were tipped off by the father of Scott Rush, one of the nine Australians involved in the drug-smuggling ring, broadcaster ABC reported.

Rush said his son was about to leave Australia with a gang to try to smuggle drugs back into Australia, the report said.

The father hoped the Australian police would arrest his son and the gang before they left the country, as he feared they could face the death penalty if caught in Indonesia.

Instead, Australian police tipped off the Indonesians, who caught the nine smugglers at Denpasar airport with the heroin on them.

Australian Federal Police (AFP) commissioner Andrew Colvin said there was not enough evidence to arrest the Australians before they left the country. 

"At the time we were working with a very incomplete picture," Colvin told a press conference in Canberra. "We didn't know everybody involved, we didn't know all the plans, or even what the illicit commodity was likely to be.

"At this time, AFP consulted and engaged our Indonesian partners and asked for their assistance."

Colvin said accusations that the AFP had "blood on its hands" were misinformed, misguided and in "very bad taste".

He refused to apologise for the tip to the Indonesians that led to the execution last week of the smuggling ringleaders Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.

"We can't apologise for the role we have in stopping drugs," he said.

Between 2007-11, there were 4 100 reported deaths in Australia from heroin and other opiates, he said.

Read more on:    indonesia  |  australia  |  narcotics

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