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Bali escape: Joshua James Baker says guards ‘watching television’ enabled him to slip out toilet window

11 October 2017 7:51 AM
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Bali escape: Joshua James Baker says guards ‘watching television’ enabled him to slip out toilet window

AN Australian arrested for possession of marijuana says he slipped his Bali guards as they were “excited watching television”. But an attack of the munchies would prove his downfall.

He then went on the run for 12 hours, visiting a friend and catching a taxi to a bogus address and doubling back to throw police off his tail, before he was finally caught having lunch at a restaurant.

Joshua James Baker has told police he brought the drugs from Australia to Bali with him and that he did not believe he was guilty because it is legal to use marijuana in Australia.

And police allege he has told them he often consumed marijuana in Bali during previous trips, generally buying it on the holiday island.

Baker, 32, faces charges of drug possession and importation which carry the maximum life and death sentences in Indonesia, although the amount he is alleged to have had is very small and unlikely to attract anything near the maximum.

Police said they would include details of his great escape in the dossier of evidence against him so it could be used by judges.

Baker was arrested on the weekend when he arrived in Bali and Customs officers, who were suspicious, searched his luggage, finding 36 grams of marijuana mixed with tobacco and 37 Diazepam pills.

Police have since separated the marijuana and tobacco and say the amount of marijuana is 28.02 grams.

Born in the mining town of Mt Isa in Queensland, Baker arrived in Bali after flying from Sydney, transiting in Bangkok.

He is currently being held in police custody and is in the Bhayangkara Trijata police hospital.

He has yet to be officially named a suspect but police say they are investigating him under drug possession and drug importation laws and have three days to collect evidence, which can be extended by another three days, before they declare him a suspect and proceed to charges.

After his arrest at Bali’s international airport on Sunday he was taken into police custody on Monday morning.

That afternoon, after interrogation, he was taken to the police hospital for a routine medical examination and doctors suggested he be kept there overnight.

The deputy director of the narcotics directorate at Bali police, Sudjarwoko, said that about 2.40am he asked the two police officers guarding him for permission to use the toilet.

“Our police personnel were too excited watching television while waiting,” Sudjarwoko said. After 15 minutes they knocked on the door and when there was no answer, broke the door down to find that Baker had escaped through a ventilation window.

Baker ran to a nearby minimarket and borrowed a staff member’s mobile phone to get a motorbike taxi to take him to a British friend’s home in Canggu.

Baker asked his friend for money but made no mention of his earlier arrest and escape. From Canggu he took a taxi to Nusa Dua, telling the driver to stop in front of a house where he pretended to be opening the gate.

“When he arrived in Nusa Dua, apparently Baker is smart. He told the taxi to stop in front of a house, which he said was his house. He pretended it was his house, like trying to open the gate, but apparently he went away once the taxi was gone,” Sudjarwoko said.

“I spread his picture to cafes, hotels, restaurants and other public areas to find him. At around 2.20pm we got a phone call from a hotel who said there was someone there like the photo of the man searched by police.

“I told the hotel staff to have chit chat with him, to make him stay there longer, as we needed time to go from Nusa Dua to Canggu. We arrested him at the hotel.

Sudjarwoko said Baker told police he was a drug user and that he got the drugs from Australia. The results of urine and blood tests, for drug use, are yet to be finalised.

“He said that he often comes to Bali and every time he comes to Bali he always uses marijuana. “Before he bought it here (in Bali). He felt he is not guilty because he said in his country, it’s legal. He wonders why he is arrested here.”

Under Indonesian drug laws, users are treated more leniently than dealers but even small amounts of drugs attract jail terms.


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