Stories about drug kingpins operating their illicit businesses from inside Indonesia’s notoriously corrupt prisons pop up frequently, severely undermining the credibility of the country’s war on drugs. Budi Waseso, the head of Indonesia’s National Narcotics Agency (BNN), has often acknowledged this as a problem and recently suggested a supernatural solution to the problem – having prisons guarded by ghosts.
“Ghosts cannot be bribed, except perhaps with frankincense,” Budi said yesterday at BNN headquarters, as quoted by MetroTV.
Now, to be fair, we must note that the media reports make it clear that the BNN chief was making a joke when he said that.
However, we must also remind our readers that this is the same Budi Waseso who previously pushed for the creation of a prison exclusively for drug criminals that would be built on an island and guarded by hungry crocodiles.
Referring to that, Budi was also quoted yesterday as saying, “Yes, I’ve often said that if you do not believe in humans, we will work with crocodiles. If possible, ghosts would be the guards.”
And, as he often made clear during the months in which his crocodile prison scheme was earning him mocking headlines around the world, he was not joking but totally serious about wanting to replace human guards with the incorruptible giant reptiles (as well as piranhas and tigers).
Budi said that BNN data showed that 50% of drug trafficking in Indonesia is controlled from inside prisons and blamed the lack of human resources from the government for allowing it to continue (for example, Cipinang Prison in Jakarta has 20 security officers overseeing 3,730 prisoners, which is perhaps how they failed to notice the luxurious AC and wi-fi equipped cell utilized by one elite prisoner).
The BNN chief also reiterated the seriousness of his crocodile prison proposal recently during an interview with ABC News Australia during which he (surprisingly) said he did not agree with the way that Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte was conducting his country’s bloody war on drugs, but did recommend that the Indonesian government increase the use of the death penalty for drug traffickers as a means of deterrence.