Bali police hold Isa man Joshua Baker

SUSPECT: The deputy director of narcotics for Bali police, Sudjarwoko, holds a photo of Joshua James Baker at a press conference. Photo: Amilia Rosa
SUSPECT: The deputy director of narcotics for Bali police, Sudjarwoko, holds a photo of Joshua James Baker at a press conference. Photo: Amilia Rosa

A Mount Isa man is being detained by Bali police after marijuana mixed with tobacco and the sedative Diazepam was allegedly found in his suitcase at Bali's international airport.

A customs official told Fairfax Media that Joshua James Baker claimed the plastic bag containing suspected marijuana and tobacco had been given to him by his girlfriend and did not belong to him.

 However police later said Mr Baker had told them he had bought the marijuana in Australia for his personal use.

Police also told of how Mr Baker, 32, escaped from a police hospital in the early hours of Tuesday morning before being re-apprehended some hours later. He has not yet been named a suspect.

Mr Baker, who was born in Mt Isa, Queensland, was intercepted at Bali's Ngurah Rai Airport after flying in on a Lion flight from Bangkok at noon on Sunday.

"Based on his travelling profile we put him on our watch," customs head Budi Harjanto told Fairfax Media.

"We watched him go through X-rays and when he headed towards the green desk, we checked him."

Mr Baker's suitcase allegedly contained 28.02 grams of marijuana (nett) mixed with tobacco and 37 pills of Diazepam.

Diazepam, a medication first marketed as Valium, produces a calming effect and is used to treat anxiety disorders.

Mr Budi said it is a drug that requires permission to have.

"We used the rapid test system to test the marijuana," he said. Police would now do proper lab tests on the marijuana and Diazepam.

"When we interviewed him, he said that he was given the plastic bag containing suspected marijuana and tobacco by his girlfriend. That it wasn't his," Mr Budi said.

Mr Budi said Mr Baker had been handed to police on Monday morning.

The deputy director of narcotics for Bali police, Sudjarwoko, said Mr Baker was interrogated at the police station from about noon on Monday before being taken to the police hospital for observation.

He was kept at the hospital overnight with two officers inside the room.

However at 2.45am he asked permission to go to the toilet and escaped through the window after removing glass vents, police allege.

"The officers were enjoying watching TV," Mr Sudjarwoko said. "When he did not return after 15 to 20 minutes, the officer banged and broke down the door. He was gone from the toilet."

Police traced Mr Baker's footsteps to a Circle K minimart, where he had asked staff to order him a motorcycle taxi known as an ojek.

They then followed Mr Baker to Canggu, where police interrogated his friend. However Mr Baker fled to the resort precinct of Nusa Dua.

"We followed him to Nusa Dua," Mr Sudjarwoko said. "He was smart, in Nusa Dua he pretended to come down and enter a house, pretended to open the door. But after the taxi driver left, he also left the house."

Mr Sudjarwoko said police searched until 11am and then circulated Mr Baker's photo to cafes and hotels. About 2.15pm on Tuesday a hotel worker in Canggu called him and said they had a man who fit the description.

"I told the staff to prolong talking to the man, because he is quite agile. And from Nusa Dua to Canggu the traffic was quite heavy."

With the assistance of the hotel owner Mr Baker was re-apprehended and taken back to the Trijata police hospital for observation.

"He is still at the police hospital now," Mr Sudjarwoko said.

However there are now three officers watching him and he is being held in the prison ward instead of a general ward.

Mr Sudjarwoko said his status would be upgraded to suspect if enough evidence was found.

"Until now we don't have his urine and blood test," he said. "We have so far only tested the evidence with a rapid test pack."

Mr Sudjarwoko said Mr Baker had told police during the interrogation he had been a ganja (marijuana) user for "quite sometime".

"He often visits Bali and every time he visited Bali he would use it. In the past, he bought (ganja) here."

He told police he had run away because he was "stressed": "That he came for a holiday but he faces being put in prison."

Mr Sudjarwoko said Mr Baker would not have been able to go anywhere because police had his passport.

"We worked with immigration and we watched the ports. He came out of hiding because he was hungry and looking for food and drinks. When he met his friend he asked for some money, he didn't tell his friend what kind of problems he was in. He used the money to rent a scooter. He was just going around in it until we arrested him at the hotel's restaurant."

In November last year, Australian teenager Jamie Murphy was released after Bali's police chief confirmed the white powder discovered on him was a mix of painkillers, cough medicine and caffeine and not an illicit drug.