Asia

Indonesia drug chief calls for Philippine-style crackdown

Budi Waseso (C), Indonesian chief of criminal investigation division, holds a seized marijuana block at the national police headquarters in Jakarta on May 11, 2015. Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Budi Waseso (centre) said the lives of drug dealers were "meaningless"

Indonesia's anti-narcotics chief has called for the country to imitate the brutal war on drugs launched by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.

Budi Waseso praised Mr Duterte and said drug dealers' lives were "meaningless".

Hundreds of alleged dealers have been killed in the Philippines since Mr Duterte allowed to police to shoot them on sight.

Mr Duterte, nicknamed "The Punisher", has been condemned by the United Nations for his approach against crime.

President Joko Widodo is hosting Mr Duterte in Jakarta later this week, where discussions on how to tackle the drugs trade will be high on the agenda.

Indonesia already has some of the toughest drug laws in the world and ended a four-year moratorium on executions in 2013.

Speaking at a press conference held by Indonesia's anti-narcotics agency (BNN), Mr Waseso said the country would bolster its arsenal of weapons, officers, and technology devoted to combating the drugs trade.

"The life of a dealer is meaningless because [he] carries out mass murder," he said.

When asked if Indonesia would be as aggressive as the Philippines, Mr Waseso said: "Yes I believe so."

A spokesman for the BNN later struck a different tone, saying Indonesia would not be as aggressive.

"Our punishments have to be in accordance with our law and with national and international standards," said Slamet Pribadi.

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Media captionThe BBC looks at the prison which has been called 'the Alcatraz of Indonesia', where condemned prisoners are executed by firing squad

About 2,400 people have been killed since Mr Duterte declared his war on drugs, Reuters news agency reports - 900 in official police operations and the rest in "deaths under investigation", a term human rights activists say is a euphemism for vigilante and extrajudicial killings.

When US President Barack Obama said earlier this week he would raise the issue with Mr Duterte, his Philippine counterpart responded by threatening to call him a "son of a whore".

Mr Obama subsequently cancelled a scheduled meeting between the two, and Mr Duterte expressed regret for his comment.

Indonesia executed four people, including foreign nationals, in July on charges of drug smuggling, despite condemnation from the UN.

In April last year President Joko Widodo drew the ire of the Australian government with a previous execution of 14, including two Australians.

Mr Waseso drew criticism and mockery in November when he proposed building a prison guarded by crocodiles.

"You can't bribe crocodiles. You can't convince them to let inmates escape," he said at the time.

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