On 17 April 2005, nine young Australians were arrested in Bali on charges of trafficking heroin. Four of the group —Renae Lawrence, Martin Stephens, Scott Rush and Michael Czugaj — were caught with the drugs taped to their body. Two others, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, were alleged to be the ringleaders of the well-organised operation. And a final three — Si Yi Chen, Tan Duc Thanh Nguyen and Matthew Norman — were also scooped up as the final element in the Bali Nine, as the group came to be known.
Their arrests, so closely following that of Schapelle Corby, shocked Australians; even more shocking was the revelation that all of the Nine could face the death penalty in Indonesia. Public opinion was loud and divided on their level of guilt — particularly after it was revealed that the ‘mules’, who were physically transporting the drugs, had probably had death threats made against them and their families to ensure their involvement — and on the appropriate punishment.
Highly respected journalists Cindy Wockner and Madonna King have investigated the extraordinary untold story of the Bali Nine. With the assistance of several family members of the Nine, they explore the histories of these eight men and one woman who have so unwittingly come into the public eye, and try to discover why these young people would take such an enormous risk. They also look at the controversial role of the Australian Federal Police in the fate of the Nine and at the impact of drug smuggling on Australian society, and they are present at the court cases, verdicts and sentencing.
One-way Ticket: The Untold Story of the Bali 9 is a remarkably compelling, clear-eyed portrait of a chapter in Australia’s history that will not soon be forgotten. It also serves as a chilling warning to all parents: this could be your child, too.
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