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Last Updated: Monday, 18 April, 2005, 09:12 GMT 10:12 UK
Nine Australians arrested in Bali
Bali beach
Bali is a popular tourist draw for Australians
Nine Australians have been arrested for reportedly trafficking heroin on the Indonesian island of Bali.

Five were detained at Bali's airport, four of them with heroin strapped to their bodies as they were trying to board a flight, Australian police said.

The other four were arrested in a nearby hotel, where police also found a small quantity of drugs, as well as scales and other evidence.

Convicted drug smugglers can be sentenced to death in Indonesia.

"The Indonesian National Police (INP) have detained nine Australian citizens overnight, attempting to export approximately 8kg of what is believed to be heroin from Bali to Sydney," a spokeswoman from Australia's Federal Police (AFP) told reporters.

The arrests follow a 10-week investigation involving both Australian and Indonesian police.

"This is an example of domestic and overseas law enforcement agencies working collaboratively to disrupt the activities of an organised drug syndicate and prevent drugs reaching Australian streets," the AFP said in a statement.

Police said they were tipped off in February that a drugs syndicate would try to transport drugs from Bali into Australia.

The nine people arrested - eight men and one woman - are between the ages of 18 and 29.

Indonesia has increasingly become a transit route for drug traffickers, and courts across the country have toughened up on offenders in recent years, sentencing several foreigners to death for serious drugs offences.

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