Read Hotel Kerobokan Online

Authors: Kathryn Bonella

Hotel Kerobokan (7 page)

BOOK: Hotel Kerobokan
2.97Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

A thorough search of the bag produced three surfboards, two swim suits, two pairs of surfing shoes, a snorkel and 29 plastic packages hidden in the inner lining of the bag. Wrapped in black carbon paper, the packages contained suspicious white powder, which a simple test confirmed as high-quality cocaine. [Juri] Angione admitted that the bag, clothes, shoes and surfboards were his, but denied any knowledge of the cocaine
.

Airport authorities on the resort island of Bali arrested a 24-year-old Italian national on Wednesday afternoon for attempting to smuggle some 5.26 kilograms of cocaine with a street value of about Rp 4.5 billion [$600,000] into Indonesia
.


Jakarta Post
, 4 December 2003

The prosecutors asked for the death penalty for Juri, as they’d done with Vincente and Michael. But the Bali court sentenced him to life in jail. Juri’s fellow drug trafficker, the Brazilian, Marco, lost his appeal against the death sentence and was sent to a maximum-security prison on Nusakambangan Island to await his execution.

Why didn’t you listen to the warning in Bangkok?

Juri:
On plane from Bangkok to Bali I was thinking do I get the bag or I leave the bag in airport? I was thinking that. I was expecting I might get caught. But I was thinking no, I don’t want to lose that stuff, what a waste all this stuff. At the end I say okay, I will try, I will keep playing. I wanted to play. So I go to get the bag and when I went outside they stopped me. They touch, they ask me what is this. I say plastic. They say open it
.

Did you try to stop them opening it?

Juri:
I say the same thing as in Bangkok. I say it’s plastic, it’s plastic. But they don’t listen to me, they open, they cut open the bag, take out a little bit of stuff
.

How were you feeling?

Juri:
Fucked up. Yeah. Fucked up. Way bad
.

Did you offer police at the airport any money?

Juri:
No. I was thinking about that but there were too many policemen
.

How many policemen?

Juri:
A lot
.

Fellow inmate:
Want to see his eyes shine! Was the cocaine good, Juri?

Juri:
Yeah. It was the same stuff as Marco had
.

Fellow inmate:
From Peru. The best stuff in the world, about 85 per cent pure. The most you can get is 95 per cent. If you make a big line, it can explode your heart, it’s extremely pure. Juri had very good quality stuff because I know the source
.

Was it going to be sold in Bali?

Juri:
No, in New Zealand and Australia
.

Were you going to take it there?

Juri:
No, not me. Somebody else take it by boat
.

Fellow inmate:
By catamaran
.

That was your job finished?

Juri:
Yeah
.

What did the police do with the cocaine?

Juri:
The police in Bali sell it for sure. They cut it and mix it. They make fifteen kilograms with my stuff
.

How many times had you smuggled cocaine into Bali?

Juri:
In Bali, it was the first time I bring cocaine. I do other drugs – hashish, ecstasy, like that. But first time ever cocaine and it was first time I bring something for somebody else. I always bring my own stuff. I always pack my own bags. I’m a user. But I do it this time because there was an emergency for Marco. They had to find someone to bring more stuff to make more money to help Marco. I didn’t know Marco that time. But to help my boss, I say, ‘Yeah, okay, I go’
.

Had you trafficked drugs to other countries?

Juri:
Yeah. In Italy, in Holland, in India
.

Cocaine?

Juri:
Cocaine, everything
.

Heroin?

Juri:
No never. Ecstasy, hashish. Heroin never. I don’t play that
.

And always in a surfboard?

Juri:
No, in a bag sometimes, in my stomach. I swallow balls. I swallow one kilogram of hash balls
.

How do you swallow?

Juri:
You make balls with the plastic. I roll the hash in cellophane paper for the food and make small, small balls
.

And you’re stomach was okay … because you’re so skinny?

Juri:
Yeah, my stomach’s okay because I take a long time to swallow, like one whole day. I needed ten hours to swallow that stuff
.

And do you eat any food that day?

Juri:
No, no, cannot
.

And then you get on the plane?

Juri:
Yeah
.

How did you get involved with drugs?

Juri:
It’s life, yeah. What happened like you meet someone, and then you meet someone else. Slowly, slowly. But since I’m a kid in Italy I already play, like sell hashish in Italy
.

You sold it when you were in Italy?

Juri:
Yeah, since I was 14 years old, I sell it. In the school I sell hashish many times. I sell it through the guy who sells pizza for breakfast at school. If somebody wants a special pizza, he sells it with my hashish on top
.

Did you move to Bali because it was a good base for selling drugs?

Juri:
I move to Bali because I have a friend there – he has a house. So I moved in with him and we started going to India and travelling around a little bit
.

To get drugs?

Juri:
Yeah. But India is a beautiful place as well. I like travelling a lot
.

How many times would you have gone through an international airport with drugs … ten times?

Juri:
More. Twenty, thirty times
.

And you’ve never got caught before?

Juri:
Never
.

Why did you get caught this time, do you think?

Juri:
It was my time
.

– Juri and fellow inmate

CHAPTER 6
NO STAR TO FIVE STAR

You cannot describe what feeling you have when you walk into Kerobokan. It’s not like a normal place. Walking down into a dirty room, it’s not your language, not your people, another planet. All the time you think you’re dreaming; it’s not really happening; you’re not really there. You don’t know what to do or think. It’s extreme. You go up and down. It’s like you’ve been kidnapped
.

– Mick, Australian inmate

Checking into a third-world jail is a frightening ordeal for most westerners, but at Hotel K after a mug shot, a haircut and paperwork in the offices, inmates are taken on a surprisingly pleasant walk through nicely groomed gardens to their new cell. On that walk, Hotel K resembles a cheap Balinese resort. Prisoners stretch out like cats under shady palm trees, reading or sleeping. Some play tennis or pray in the small Hindu temple. The path turns at a small canteen, where a group of prisoners might stand about chatting. A laughing child runs across the lawns, flying a kite. Under a palm tree, a couple is kissing. This initial snapshot lulls a new inmate into a false sense of calm.

It doesn’t last long.

When the door of their new cell slams shut, the pleasant scenes cease. In the initiation or pre-sentencing blocks J and C2, there is no sunlight, only bright fluorescent lights. A thick blue haze colours the air, from the clove cigarettes dangling from people’s lips. They’re hot concrete boxes, each crammed so tightly, with up to twenty-five men, that the prisoners are constantly touching elbows or knees. There’s not enough room for everyone to sit down at the same time; they sit and sleep in shifts. No one can stretch out unless they nab a spot near the door where they can scissor their legs through the bars. Everyone else sleeps with their legs and arms weaving in and out of the sticky limbs of others.

In the corner is a single hole-in-the-ground toilet, which is usually blocked with old, hardened faeces. The stench attracts a cloud of mosquitoes. Rats run in and out of the cells. New western inmates watch in disbelief when a local corners a rat, breaks its neck and then eats it raw.

The initiation cellblocks are filled with heroin addicts, including some with AIDS and hepatitis, who will later be put in a cellblock specifically for drug addicts, known as ‘the junkie block’. Often they’re covered in sores, obsessively picking at them. The addicts shoot up, wrapping their arms tightly to find a vein before plunging in a blunt needle, taking a hit and passing the dirty syringe on. The tight squeeze ensures all prisoners are exposed to their diseases, skin rashes, sores and infections.

Three times a day in the initiation cellblocks, inmates are fed like they’re monkeys. Usually they just stretch their arms through the bars to those prisoners who wheel the food carts around the jail, holding out a hand or a piece of plastic to get a spoonful of undercooked hard white rice with a ladle of watery cabbage stew slopped on top. The inmates’ only respite is a walk across to the visiting room, although many have no one to visit them, so are deprived even of that.

When I first came from the police station, they put me in C2. When anyone comes from the police station, they put you there first, in one small room with twenty-five people. Not enough room for twenty-five people. Some people sit down to sleep. I was there for two months. That time there was no toilet. You have to shit in plastic. Piss in plastic. I went two weeks and five days with no shit
.

Did you get out once in two months?

No. You cannot go out in the day time. That time I have no choice but to stay there. If you have money you can pay to move to another block. Some people make arrangement so that immediately they are moved from that block. American Gabriel started to make everything expensive. He paid seven million rupiah [$950] to move, because he didn’t want to stay even for one hour. So they start to charge everyone more. The guy from Africa, he paid seven million also to move
.

– Emmanuel, Nigerian inmate

Although the guards always let westerners, with money, fast-track themselves out of the initiation cellblocks or skip them altogether, some are unaware of the upgrade system. Millionaire Australian yachtsman Chris Packer, jailed for having unregistered guns on his yacht, was not clued up and suffered a few days crammed inside an initiation cell, sleeping with his legs skewed through the bars, before cutting a deal to move into a cell with a soft bed and furniture.

Paying for a cell upgrade could put an inmate in up-market real estate offering private rooms with grassy views, a plasma television and DVD player, a soft mattress and the internet. The best rooms were given to VIP prisoners, such as the Balinese king or the governor of Bali, or inmates with cash and influence. Mexican drug dealers Vincente and Clara both had cell upgrades, courtesy of their rich Bali-based drug-dealer client. He ensured they were looked after; in return, they would not turn him in or name him. He could also still use Vincente to organise his cocaine deliveries. Being inside Hotel K didn’t stop Vincente from working, calling contacts in Mexico and organising couriers from his cell. Vincente had installed a 26-inch LCD television on the wall, a water pump for hot and cold water and a small bath; things that were luxuries even in local homes.

Clara had exclusive real estate in the women’s block. Her cell was at the end of the path, and was shielded from passers-by by a Japanese bamboo screen that provided the most precious commodity in jail: privacy. Outside, she’d planted a small garden. Inside, she’d had the floor tiled blue and a western toilet installed, and she had the rare privilege of deciding who shared with her. Usually, she had only two cellmates, despite the other nine cells in Block W being crammed with up to fifteen women.

Powerful Balinese drug dealer Iwan Thalib’s luxuriously comfortable cell could rival a five-star hotel room. Iwan had designed the interior, decorating it tastefully and with a state-of-the-art Bose sound system. He had his workers hand-craft wooden furniture to fit the space perfectly. They laid a sumptuous Bordeaux red carpet and painted the walls a light coffee colour. His home theatre comprised eight speakers mounted on the walls for surround sound, a plasma screen at the foot of his bed, a DVD player and a PlayStation. In the corner he had a small fridge for beers, a freezer and a microwave. His builders had expanded the cell by knocking down a wall to an adjoining communal toilet and turning it into an en-suite bathroom. He also paid a gay inmate, Dedi, a small wage to be his servant, cleaning his cell and washing his clothes. If Iwan had to be in jail, he was going to do it in style. In reality, though, he rarely slept there as he had VIP privileges and was free to walk in and out of Hotel K as he pleased. But he let other prisoners use his cell to watch his plasma television or use his PlayStation. Life behind bars was not too bad for Iwan. He had money, influence and more power than the guards.

From the beginning, Iwan was Number One VIP. He is the one who can openly use a laptop or hand phone because he’s the one who is the Number One sponsor for the jail. Whatever is needed, he’s the one who takes out the money
.

So he ran the jail?

Yeah of course, he was the Number One sponsor. Whatever is needed, he’s the one who gets it. Want to make garden or want to renovate cell. He pays. Pay everything. Even if the chief of jail wanted to go somewhere, wanted to go to Jakarta, he was the one who paid the money. He’s the one who takes care of it, plane fare, hotel, everything. With money, whatever you want, you can do inside. Whoever wants to sell the drugs inside the jail, no problem. Every week you have to pay the money to the chief of the jail
.

– Den, Nepalese inmate

BOOK: Hotel Kerobokan
2.97Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

A Time for Change by Marquaylla Lorette
A Baby in the Bunkhouse by Cathy Gillen Thacker
A Rage to Live by Roberta Latow
Heartless by Janet Taylor-Perry
Renegade Alpha (ALPHA 5) by Carole Mortimer
Sirensong by Jenna Black