Bali

On October 12, 2002, Bali fell victim to the deadliest act of terrorism in Indonesia's history. Three bombs were detonated in busy nightclubs in the popular Kuta district, killing 202 people and injuring more than 200 others. Among the dead were 11 tourists from Hong Kong, 88 Australians and 38 Indonesians. Members of Jemaah Islamiyah, a violent Islamist group, were convicted over the bombings and in November 2008 Imam Samudra, Amrozi Nurhasyim and Huda bin Abdul Haq were executed by firing squad.

Hotel K

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 27 February, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 27 February, 2011, 12:00am
 

Hotel K
by Kathryn Bonella
Quercus, HK$221

Readers know what to expect from Hotel K from the off. After all, the subject is a maximum-security jail in Indonesia. Inmates include murderers, drug pushers and terror bombers, or, as Kathryn Bonella describes them, the country's 'worst psychopaths and sadistic criminals'. K, for Kerobokan, is also the prison housing Schapelle Corby, the Australian woman who, in 2005, was nabbed at Bali's Denpasar airport with 4.2kg of marijuana. Bonella, who interviewed Corby in jail every day for months and wrote her autobiography, met many others at Hotel K, where, she says, Westerners 'continually check in and out', some buying their way to better cells, others paying for a shorter stay, a few never leaving again. Bonella's portrayal of the jail, which holds men and women, will make readers flinch with its graphic descriptions of violence and debauchery taking place under the eyes of bent guards. On 'sex nights', hookers, girlfriends and wives enter the jail to couple with their lovers wherever they can. Although many inmates are hard core, there are also tourists inside for possession of just one ecstasy tablet. This book might dissuade others from trying their luck.

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