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article imageTigers, piranhas may join crocodiles as Indonesian prison guards

By Marcus Hondro     Nov 15, 2015 in Politics
Jakarta - The recent story about crocodiles being used as guards over drug convicts in Indonesia has a new twist. Those nasty crocodiles may have co-workers alongside them — tigers and piranhas.
When Indonesia narcotics agency chief Budi Waseso said last week that he may use crocodiles to guard the country's drug-convicts while they serve out their terms — or await their executions — he was scoffed at. So much so that some government officials denied such a thing would be done.
But Waseso said on Friday he was serious and said he may add tigers and flesh-eating piranhas to guard duty. The thought is such creatures cannot be bribed — that's a problem with guards in the country — and would be rather effective in stopping any escape attempts.
By eating the escapee.
"The number will depend on how big the area is, or whether perhaps to combine them with piranhas," Waseso told media. "Because the (prison) personnel numbers are short we can use wild animals. We could use tigers too – for conservation at the same time."
Indonesia drug war
Waseso is doing a job that the president of his country badly wants done. When he came to office last year, Indonesian President Joko Widodo vowed to do all he could to end the heavy toll drugs were having on the country. One study the government has cited found that 40 people die each day as a result of drugs and the drug trade in the country.
The idea of having a body of water surrounding prisons filled with crocodiles and piranhas to tear at the flesh of would-be escapees, and tigers on the shore ready to do the same should any make it that far, is proving to be a controversial one. It has many crying out about the human rights of prisoners. Waseso has an answer to that.
"We have to look at the whole problem," he said. "These people are murderers - mass murderers. Shouldn't we also look at the human rights of their victims?"
The narcotics chief has already said he intends to pay fact-finding visits to Northern Sumatra, Papua, Sulawesi and other areas to find the nastiest crocodiles for the job. He has not said if he has any plans to visit countries that have large tiger or piranha populations. Nor has he said when such guards might begin work.
If they ever do.
Indonesia has executed 14 convicted drug traffickers thus far in 2015 and has another 60 on death row. Many are foreigners, including Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, whose executions in April sparked widespread condemnation from Australia and around the world.
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