Tue, 11 Oct 1994

Lawyer wants one trial for three drug dealers

JAKARTA (JP): The lawyer of an alleged drug dealer asked the Central Jakarta District Court yesterday to try his client and another two alleged dealers at the same time.

"Such a trial will make it clear who the mastermind, the actor or the accomplice is," said lawyer Sofyan Taher, using Latin- derived legal terminologies respectively as daders, mede daders and medeplich.

Earlier reports said that the Central Jakarta Prosecutor Office had decided to separate the trial of defendants Muhammad Freddy (alias A Thing, 44), Malaysian Tham Tuck Yin (alias A Tjai, 29) and Thai Sae Lim Iaw (alias A Tham, 50) due to each of them being tried for different charges.

Police said the three were arrested during a drug deal on May 11 in Hotel Indonesia, Central Jakarta. A later raid on A Thing's house netted 29 kilogram of heroin.

The market value of the heroin was estimated at Rp 58 billion (US$27 million). Police claim it is the largest drug bust ever made in Indonesia.

A Thing brought six small packets of heroin, apparently as samples, to Hotel Indonesia and left the remaining 54 packets in his house.

Taher, the lawyer of A Thing, also told presiding Judge Leo Hutagalung yesterday that the Central Jakarta District Court has no right to hold the trial.

He said that 90 percent of the seized heroin was stored in the house of A Thing at Jl. Patriot 29 in Bekasi, West Java.

"Instead of the Central Jakarta District Court, it is the Bekasi one which has the authority to try the defendant," Taher said in his defense statement.

Prosecutor T. Zakaria said last week that the 29 kilograms of heroin was smuggled from Phuket, a tourist resort in Thailand, into Belawan seaport in North Sumatra, by A Tjai.

A Tjai then arrived in Pulo Gadung terminal in Jakarta on Jan. 24, after riding a bus from Medan.

Zakaria said in his indictment that the contacts of A Tjai in Jakarta were A Thing, A Tham and Thamanoon Saepho.

Saepho, allegedly the mastermind of the drug deal, is still at large.


Police allege that A Tham and Saepho are members of an international narcotic syndicate.

"During police questioning, the three suspects remained tight- lipped and gave no information that would help us find their other accomplices or any information of their network," said a police officer.

While A Thing kept the heroin, the other three were busy looking for buyers, traveling between Jakarta and Bangkok a number of times before arranging a meeting with a potential buyer in Hotel Indonesia, he said.

Judge Hutagalung adjourned the trial of A Thing until next Monday to give prosecutor Zakaria ample time to prepare a written response to the defense statement by Taher.

The court will today conduct the second trial session of A Tham presided over by Judge R.P.A. Mangkudiningrat.

The trial of A Tjai will begin on Thursday, presided over by Judge Tua Radja Siregar.

Under the Indonesian 1976 Anti-Narcotic Law, an alleged drug dealer may face the death penalty or life imprisonment.

Two Thai nationals and an Indian citizen were sentenced to death by a court in Medan, North Sumatra, on Sep. 9, 1994 after being found guilty of smuggling 12.19 kilograms of heroin.

A Thai sailor, Kamjai Khong Thavorn, was also sentenced to death in 1988 by a court in Samarinda, East Kalimantan, after being found guilty of smuggling 17.76 kilograms of heroin.

Earlier in 1985 a Malaysian, Chan Tin Chong, better known as Steven, also was sentenced to death by the West Jakarta District Court after being found guilty of masterminding a smuggling attempt of 420 grams of heroin.

In Indonesia, death sentences are usually carried out by a military firing squad at dawn in a disclosed place, usually one or two days after the family is given a chance to meet with the convict for the last time. (09)