Taiwan warns citizens after 11 sentenced to death in Indonesia

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Taiwan's representative to Indonesia warned Taiwan nationals on Monday not to treat legal penalties in Indonesia lightly, emphasizing that 11 Taiwanese have been sentenced to death for drug-related crimes in the country in recent years. (CNA)

JAKARTA (CNA) – Taiwan’s representative to Indonesia warned Taiwan nationals on Monday not to treat legal penalties in Indonesia lightly, emphasizing that 11 Taiwanese have been sentenced to death for drug-related crimes in the country in recent years.

The severity of punishments has also increased as part of a crackdown on drug crimes by Indonesian President Joko Widodo, according to John Chen (陳忠), head of the Taipei Economic and Trade Office in Indonesia.

Chen said Widodo has ordered law enforcement officers to “gun down” drug traffickers if necessary, especially those from foreign countries as part of ongoing efforts to end the narcotics emergency facing the nation.

No one should doubt these instructions, Chen advised, urging Taiwanese people “not for one moment to consider smuggling drugs to Indonesia.”

Since last year, four Taiwanese suspects have been shot and killed while resisting arrest in the country. There are also more than 30 Taiwanese detained in prisons across the nation after being arrested for drug trafficking, according to Indonesian official data.

The data also shows that 11 Taiwanese nationals have currently been sentenced to death for drug convictions, including three already on death row.

The other eight received their sentence from either a district or high court. However, given the imposition of such severe punishments against drug criminals over the past few years, it is widely believed there is little to no chance of the supreme court commuting the sentences of individuals convicted of drug-related crimes.

Statistics from Indonesia’s National Narcotics Agency in a 2015 report indicated that approximately 33 people die of drug overdoses every day in the country and that the narcotics problems resulted in economic losses to the country of US.8 billion in 2014.

In 2016, Indonesia seized 250 metric tons of drugs coming into the country, with China the largest source, according to the agency.

By Jay Chou and Elizabeth Hsu