Bali Nine drug smuggler’s final days
ONE of the Bali Nine drug traffickers has died in an Indonesian jail after a battle with cancer.
Tan Duc Thanh Nguyen, originally from Brisbane, was serving a life sentence for his role in the ill-fated heroin run when he fell ill last year with stomach or gastric cancer.
He died on May 19 at 7.10am in Siloam Semanggi Hospital in Jakarta.
The Corrections division spokesman Adi Kusmanto said Nguyen had suffered from gastric cancer. His body has been handed over to his family and was sent to Brisbane on May 22, he said. Mr Kusmanto said the body had been handed to Nguyen's foster mother in Jakarta.
Nguyen had originally been held in Bali's Kerobokan prison but was moved, along with fellow Bali Nine drug courier Martin Stephens, to Malang jail in East Java in March 2014.
At the time the then jail governor said both had been moved for violating jail rules.
Late last year he was moved from Malang to Cipinang prison in Jakarta to receive medical treatment for what was believed to be cancer and is understood to have remained there until his death.
Nguyen's family made the request for him to be moved from Malang to Jakarta for treatment in December last year.
He had been in and out of hospital in Malang where he had been receiving chemotherapy for what a source said was advanced stomach cancer.
Nguyen was arrested along with the other Bali Nine members in April 2005 as they attempted to traffic 8.2kg of heroin from Bali to Sydney. Four couriers, along with Andrew Chan, were arrested at Bali airport. The other four, including Nguyen, were arrested at the Melasti Beach Bungalows in Kuta, with the remnants of the heroin that had been strapped to the couriers.
Originally sentenced to life in jail, it was increased to the death penalty on appeal however on further appeal it was reduced back to life.
Repeated attempts by Nguyen and the four others on life sentences to have their sentences reduced to 20 years have been unsuccessful.
Under the Indonesian system, those serving life sentences are unable to receive any sentence remissions each year and have no possibility of release.
Nguyen's death comes three years after Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran were executed by firing squad in April 2015.
At one stage Nguyen was engaged to be married in jail to a Russian woman and the wedding was planned for December of 2015. But the wedding never went ahead.