American citizen and resident of Bali for 18 years, Susi Johnston, was detained by Denpasar Police for four days last week after drugs were allegedly found in her vehicle.
However, she was released after undergoing an intensive investigation because the police determined there was no evidence linking her to the ecstasy pills apparently planted in the car.
According to statements from the accused, this was the culmination of months of harassment, home invasions and legal wrangling where she found herself embroiled in land dispute claims and manipulation.
In a letter sent to the beat daily, Johnston said that a dispute began over the ownership of hers and her recently deceased husband’s property in Mengwi, Bali. She began to receive threats from a nominee used on the title of the land, who was claiming the property to be her own, which then lead to lawsuits and counter lawsuits, which are still in process and bogus immigration charges against her in late 2012, which were found at the time to be fabricated. In February she endured three home invasions by a group of around 50 thugs, which then lead police to deploy a team of patrol officers to protect Johnston and her property 24/7.
This latest incident, with drugs apparently planted in her car, unravelled last week when Johnston had to leave the country to process her Indonesian residence permit after the earlier immigration issues. Johnston left Indonesia on March 5, 2013 and went to Singapore to renew the permit.
As she headed to Ngurah Rai airport to leave Indonesia, Susi was driven by an immigration officer and escorted all the way to the plane, while her car was entrusted to a lawyer named Wayan Kartika to be parked safely near the immigration office on the Ngurah Rai Bypass.
When she arrived back to Bali on the same day, she was told the keys had been given to a guard. “When I was on the way to the car, plainclothes men intercepted me,” she said.
In the letter to the beat daily Susi continues, “I take a taxi from the airport to immigration office to get my keys from the jaga malams there. Get the keys and begin walking to my car about 100 yards away. Just as I begin heading for the car, I am jumped/assaulted by a group of large men dressed in black shirts and leather jackets, like gangsters. Terrified. Then suddenly I realize they are undercover police and this is a setup. My lawyers had warned me this was a common tactic to terrorise or “eliminate” people. A very unpleasant 45 minutes ensues, in the dark, as I demand these men wait for a witness (kepala lingkungan, lawyer, or consular staff, for example) to arrive to be with me before they open and search my car. I refuse to touch the car or get inside. One of these men in black “finds” a small wad of newspaper in my car and shows me something yellow inside; I can’t see what it is, what material, shape, it’s too dark and too far away, as I have refused to touch or get inside the car. The officers who are responsible for guarding my house (from Polsek Mengwi) have arrived in a patrol car with lights and sirens to guard me. The men in black demand that we go to my house and insist that I drive my own car. I refuse. Mengwi police assist, negotiate that I will ride with them, and the men in black can follow in my car. We go to my house.”
In the search at the house the police found no evidence. However, two ecstasy pills were found near the car handbrake wrapped in newspaper. Johnston was taken to Polresta Denpasar, and after four days of lab tests and interrogation of numerous witnesses, the police could not prove Johnston’s involvement in the ownership of the illicit goods, so she was released.
Meanwhile, police are now investigating where the drugs in the car came from and who planted them there.
“I hope the police can prove and trace who put the stuff into my car,” Johnston stated to reporters in Denpasar earlier this week. “Otherwise the same thing could happen to anyone in Bali, at any time.”
That would of been scarey.