Australian man walks free after being detained for prescription drugs in Bali

The customs office at Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali. Photo: Bea Cukai Ngurah Rai / Facebook
The customs office at Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali. Photo: Bea Cukai Ngurah Rai / Facebook

An Australian national who was detained at Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport for alleged possession of drugs last week has now been freed, after authorities confirmed that the pills he brought were prescribed by doctors to treat his medical condition. 

“[We] concluded that the evidence was not adequate for any further investigation, and also based on questioning and examination of the person,” Syamsi from the Bali Police told Detik yesterday.

The 47-year-old Australian, Michael William Petersen, was detained last Friday, after customs officers in Bali found 87 pills of dexamfetamine in his luggage during a security check.

Petersen told authorities that the drugs were prescribed by doctors and meant to treat his medical condition, Myasthenia Gravis, which causes weakness and fatigue.

After he was released, Petersen told Australian news outlet Sydney Morning Herald that Australian travelers ought to check the Smart Traveller website before their international trips, highlighting that what he went through was “not worth the trouble.” 

When it comes to drugs, Indonesian laws are notoriously harsh and many foreigners have been arrested in the past for possession of illegal narcotics upon entering the country, including medical marijuana.

A similar case of prescription medication also befell Australian social media influencer Tori Ann Lyla Hunter earlier this year in August, who was detained for the same reason. Her case made its rounds on local and Australian media outlets after she claimed that she was financially extorted by lawyers and police officers on the island – claims which had been denied by those involved.

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