August 23, 2005

Australians who take drugs to Asia are “stupid”-PM

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australians who take drugs into Asia are
stupid and should not expect to be bailed out by the Australian
government, Prime Minister John Howard said after another two
Australians were detained in Indonesia over drugs.

Howard said he could not believe Australians would still
risk taking drugs into Asia after the high-profile conviction
of beautician Schapelle Corby, who was sentenced to 20 years in
prison in May for smuggling 4.2 kg of marijuana into Bali.

"It's beyond belief that any Australian could be so stupid
as to carry drugs into any country in Asia," Howard told
Australian television late on Tuesday.

"We have told Australians -- young Australians -- again and
again, don't take drugs out of this country, don't take them
into Asian countries because you can't expect any mercy," he

Despite wide Australian media attention on Corby, who was
detained late last year, another nine Australians were arrested
in April in a joint drug bust between Australian and Indonesian
police, involving about 11 kg (24 lb) of heroin.

The eight men and one woman, who have become known as the
Bali nine, are awaiting trial in Indonesia.

Last weekend, 24-year-old model Michelle Leslie was
detained in Bali after police said they found ecstasy pills in
her bag and Graham Clifford Payne was arrested in Sumatra after
police said they found him with 0.1 grams of methamphetamine.

Police said they later found about 2,000 prescription drug
pills at Payne's home in the Indonesian city of Medan.

Howard said Australians who ignored warnings about taking
drugs into Asia should not expect help from the government.

"People have to understand that if they defy that, and they
get caught with drugs, they can't expect the government to bail
them out," Howard said.

"I'm just amazed that people would even contemplate after
all the publicity that's been given to some quite prominent
cases in recent months, that people would do this."