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 Monday, 13 January, 2003, 09:14 GMT
Indonesia sentences ecstasy maker
Ecstasy tablets
Ang Kiem Soei helped produce thousands of tablets
A court in Indonesia has sentenced a Dutch citizen to death for operating what police say was one of the biggest factories in South East Asia making the drug ecstasy.

When Ang Kiem Soei was arrested near the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, last April, officers found equipment which they estimated had been producing 15,000 ecstasy pills a day for three years.

The police confiscated 8,000 pills and thousands of dollars.

Indonesia has severe penalties for drug use and smuggling, and at least five foreigners have received death sentences, although none has actually been executed.

Ecstasy and amphetamine use has spread through South East Asia in recent years, replacing heroin as the most popular hard drug in some countries.

Denial

The ecstasy-producing operation was discovered in the city of Tangerang, west of Java, in April 2002.

Ang, an ethnic Chinese holding a Dutch passport and an Indonesian identity card, is in custody.

Chief judge Hatta Ali told ElShinta radio that "his acts have been proven".

"The defendant produced (illegal drugs) in an organised way, distributed them in an organised way and stored them also in an organised way. The punishment for those crimes is the death penalty," he said.

His lawyer, Rizal Damanik, told the same radio station that his client denied the charge and would appeal.

See also:

03 Jan 03 | Asia-Pacific
27 Dec 02 | Asia-Pacific
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