“The majority of them are migrant workers who were tricked into becoming couriers by international drug syndicates and most of them are women,” BNN chief Anang Iskandar said as quoted by Antara news agency on Sunday.
The BNN has appealed to Indonesian citizens, especially migrant workers in Hong Kong and Macau, to remain alert over the danger of drug syndicates in the countries in which they work.
“They should not be easily duped. They should be careful when someone wants to entrust something to them. Also be very careful with strangers,” he said.
Anang earlier warned women in the country to be careful when dating foreigners, suggesting they could be tricked into becoming drug mules.
He said that many Indonesian women were languishing in prisons abroad because they were “easily tricked into drug-trafficking”.
On Sunday, Anang also called on Indonesian nationals who use drugs abroad to immediately stop and seek help from an Indonesian representative office. The office, he said, could recommend them to a rehab center.
“We are cooperating with a number of countries on a bilateral and multilateral basis to prevent and eradicate drug abuse, and to unravel international drug networks that use Indonesian citizens as mules or consider Indonesia a part of their smuggling route,” he said.
Anang also said that the demand for drugs in Indonesia remained very high, making the country one of the main destinations for drug smuggling.
The BNN estimates that there are more than 4.2 million active drug users in the country.
“If one of them consumes 0.2 grams a day, it means 80 kilograms of drugs is needed every day to satiate demand, or 2.4 tons per month and 29 tons per year,” he said.
Indonesian consul general in Hong Kong, Chalief Akbar Tjandraningrat, said there were 28 Indonesian citizens currently embroiled in drug cases in Hong Kong.
“Twelve of them are still in detention, while 16 others have been sentenced. In Macau the number is 10, and most of them are couriers and most are women,” he said.
Under President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s administration, the government has implemented tougher measures on drug offenders.
Declaring a “drug emergency”, President Jokowi has called for the death penalty for drug dealers and has rejected clemency pleas from convicted traffickers. Despite protests from human rights campaigners and the international community, his administration executed 14 convicts — including foreigners of multiple nationalities — in January and May of this year.
Jakarta Post 24th August 2015