Australian charged for drugs in Bali after escape bid

2017-10-14 13:36

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Denpasar - An Australian who was nabbed with drugs in his luggage in Bali and briefly escaped custody by climbing through a toilet air vent has been charged with narcotics possession, a police spokesman said Saturday.

Joshua James Baker was detained after arriving at Bali's Ngurah Rai airport from Bangkok on October 8 when Indonesian police found drugs in his luggage.

"He had 28 g of marijuana and 37 diazepam pills," Bali police spokesman Hengky Widjaja said.

But Baker slipped away when he was led to a toilet for a urine test on Monday, climbing through a ventilation shaft to make his getaway.

Police soon became suspicious of his long bathroom break and launched a manhunt when they realised he had escaped. They found him around 10 hours later in the beach village of Canggu.

Baker is charged with drug possession and faces a minimum of five years in prison if convicted.

Indonesia has some of the world's toughest drugs laws, with sentences including the death penalty available for smugglers who carry five or more grams.

Several foreign and Indonesian nationals have been convicted to death by firing squad in recent years including Australian Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, a case that sparked diplomatic outrage and a call to abolish the penalty.

Nevertheless foreigners are regularly caught trying to bring drugs into Bali, a tropical resort island that attracts millions of tourists each year.

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