DENPASAR, 24 January: Drug syndicates are using Westerners to smuggle drugs into the tourist haven Bali in new tactics, Indonesian authorities said Wednesday as a British grandmother became the latest to face the firing squad for trafficking.
Lindsay Sandiford, 56, was sentenced to death Tuesday after being caught with 4.79 kilograms (10 pounds, nine ounces) of cocaine worth US$2.4 million in her suitcase as she arrived on a flight from Bangkok last May.
The haul was destined for sale in the hard-partying resort island, which is enjoying a tourism boom and where drugs can be freely obtained despite harsh penalties and high-profile arrests.
BANGKOK, 4 January 2012: The British ambassador to Thailand issued a warning to British holiday makers in Thailand to exercise caution, following the killing of a British tourist during a New Year’s beach party on the popular island of Phangan.
Stephen Ashton, 22, was struck by a stray bullet while dancing at a beach party.
“There are risks in going anywhere and I think Thailand is certainly not completely trouble-free,” the ambassador told UK-based Sky News on Tuesday night.
BANGKOK, 3 January 2013: Police in Thailand said Wednesday they had arrested a Thai man over the death of a British tourist shot during New Year celebrations at one of the Southeast Asian nation’s most popular islands.
The 26-year-old suspect is alleged to have opened fire during an argument with a group of other Thai men at a bar on the southern resort of Koh Phangan, killing holidaymaker Stephen Ashton who was dancing on the beach.
“He was charged with murder, even though he said he did not aim to kill a tourist. Firing the gun, no matter at whom, was aiming to kill,” said Surat Thani province police commander Kietpong Khaosa-ard.
THE HAGUE, 23 November 2012: Dutch cities are to decide themselves whether to bar foreign drug tourists from so-called coffee-shops, after the government scrapped its unpopular “weed pass” law.
The move will allow Amsterdam to keep pulling in millions of foreign soft-drug users, while allowing border towns to clamp down on crime related to drug-tourism.
“The best way of seeing which measures are effective is at local level,” Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten said in a letter sent to parliament late Monday.
PHUKET, 28 September 2012: The Canadian Government has responded to a series of questions asked by Phuketwan, an online news service based in Phuket.
The two Canadian sisters died on the holiday island of Phi Phi more than three months ago. Authorities both in Thailand and Canada have failed to provide credible information on the cause of death.
Local tourism leaders in Krabi province told TTR Weekly, earlier, that the lack of transparency was extremely damaging for Phi Phi and the province. They suggested there was a cover-up.
KRABI, 20 September 2012: Travel industry leaders in Krabi have asked the government to crack down on illegal entertainment spots and the sale of narcotics claiming the death of two Canadian sisters could be linked to the possible sale of illegal substances on Phi Phi island.
Although there is no firm evidence on the cause of death, doctors who performed a post mortem investigation suggested the sisters may have ingested a cocktail that contained the insect repellent DEET.
Twenty year-old Audrey and Noemi Belanger, 25, were found dead in their room at Palm Residence Hotel on Ao Nang in Muang district in Krabi, 15 June.
KRABI, 10 September 2012: A widely used insect repellent has been linked to the deaths of two Canadian tourists , 13 June, while on holiday on Phi Phi island.
Initial reports on CBC News late last month stated that the results of an autopsy suggested they had died from a drinking a cocktail that contained the insect repellent DEET.
Results of the autopsy carried out a Bangkok hospital were not publicly released, but they were shown to reporters for CBC’s French-language news network.
SYDNEY, 11 July 2012: An airline employee was charged Tuesday for his alleged role in an international drugs syndicate smuggling narcotics through Sydney airport, police said.
Jonathan Klein, an employee of an unidentified commercial carrier, was being monitored Monday when an international flight landed in Sydney and he was seen removing a package from the plane and putting it in his car.
Later on Monday Klein, 37, was stopped at the airport and a police search of his car allegedly uncovered two blocks of a white substance, which tests indicated was one kilogram of the stimulant methamphetamine.
BANGKOK, 2 July 2012: Ministry of Public Health has called for more competent food safety checks at tourist resorts following the deaths of two young female tourists who were visiting Phi Phi last month.
Although there is still no proven link to food or drinks cited in the autopsy reports on the Canadian sisters’ deaths, public health officials have called on restaurant and hotel owners on the island to be vigilant in food preparations and to stop serving illegal booze or cocktail concoctions to tourists.
The heavy mixture of booze with the so called magic mushrooms could have drug like qualities that could be harmful.