Four Britons face death by firing squad after 'smuggling cocaine into Bali'

  • @johnmatthewhall

Four Britons, including a 55-year-old housewife, face death by firing squad after allegedly smuggling cocaine on to the Indonesian island of Bali.

Lindsay Sandiford, originally from Redcar in the North East, was picked up by police after carrying 4.8kg (11lbs) of cocaine in the lining of her suitcase as she arrived at the airport in Bali’s capital city Denpasar from Bangkok on May 19.

It is believed police then convinced Mrs Sandiford to take part in a sting operation, which led to the arrests of another British woman, two British men, and an Indian national.

The other woman arrested was given the identification name RLD by police, and she is thought to be married to JAP – the name given to one of the two British men arrested. The couple are believed to own a villa in Bali. The other British man arrested was given the code name PB.

In a deliberate tactic to shame suspected smugglers, the group were made to take part in press conferences yesterday, where they were paraded in orange prison suits with their faces covered by balaclavas. During one conference RLD shouted “It’s a fit-up” and claimed the drugs had been planted.

Speaking about Mrs Sandiford, customs official Made Wijaya said today: "Despite what you see as a seemingly unassuming appearance, we believe that she has been part of an international narcotics syndicate for a long time'.

'We conducted an X-ray scan on the luggage, found a suspicious substance in it and then examined it.

"After weighing, the total cocaine is 4.791kg. The drugs have an estimated street value of 23.9 billion Indonesian rupiah (£1.6m)," he added.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We are aware of the arrest in Bali, and we stand ready to provide consular assistance."

Mrs Sandiford allegedly told officials she only smuggled the drugs because her children in England were being threatened.

If convicted, the group faces a maximum penalty of death by firing squad - a punishment enforced as part of crackdown over the last 10 years on anyone carrying more than a few grams of Class A drugs.

140 people are currently on death row in Indonesia for drugs offences, one third of them foreigners.