Boy, 14, picked up in sting in Bali drug arrest: witness
A witness to the arrest of a 14-year-old NSW schoolboy in Bali says the boy was picked up in a sting by plain-clothes police intelligence officers who had been waiting for hours, apparently tipped off that he had allegedly bought drugs.
The witness, a shopkeeper at the Mirah Minimarket, said the boy was caught about 2pm on Tuesday with a friend. They had left a foot massage salon across the road on Jalan Padma, a busy street in the heart of the Kuta tourist district.
"It caused quite a commotion. A lot of people stopped and watched as they were taken away," said the man, who asked not to be identified, pointing to the pavement in front of the shop.
Police exercise in the compound where the boy is believed to be being held. Photo: Amy Parkes / Channel 7
"I remember the boys looking confused and asked why, why were they being taken away."
The shopkeeper said the two were arrested by four plain-clothes police intelligence officers, who had been loitering outside his shop since 11am.
Another two plain-clothes officers were down nearer the beach, where the alleged transaction is understood to have taken place.
"They did not search or asked the boys anything. They were just taken away," he said.
The account of the arrest, the first by a witness, strongly indicates that someone who had seen the transaction, or the dealer, had tipped off police.
The witness described the two as "just average looking tourist boys". One of them was shirtless, he added, and each was led away by two officers.
It appears the other boy was let go by police, presumably because he was not allegedly in possession of cannabis.
It is unknown whether the drug dealer was also apprehended.
The Indonesian police are declining to provide details on the case because the schoolboy is a minor.
The account of the shopkeeper cannot be independently verified.
However, the location and timing of the arrests accord with information already provided by the schoolboy's first lawyer, Sursono.
The witness said the arrest was chaotic. The intelligence officers had initially arrested the wrong people, he said.
"I remember, they stopped some older tourists before, and they let them go after saying: 'Wrong guy.'
"Someone tried to video what happened using his mobile phone, one of the intels took the mobile and deleted the video before giving the mobile back."
The schoolboy is with his parents in a room at a Denpasar police station and now has a new lawyer, Muhammad Rifan.
Mr Rifan has demanded that urine and blood tests be retaken, along with the boy's police statement, citing irregularities with the initial investigation, which did not take into account the teenager's status as a juvenile.
Australia's ambassador to Jakarta, Greg Moriarty, has been sent to Bali to deal with the matter as a priority.
The teenager will remain in detention for up to a month while police continue their inquiries but, if his case is brought to trial, could face a prison term in the notorious Kerobokan penitentiary, where sex offenders and murders mix with small-time crooks in overcrowded conditions.