Australia

Australian teen released by Bali police as white powder 'not drugs'

Jamie Murphy is detained by nightclub security guards in Bali Image copyright 9News.com.au
Image caption Jamie Murphy is detained by nightclub security guards in Bali

Police have confirmed a white substance found on an Australian teenager in Bali, Indonesia, was not drugs.

Jamie Murphy, 18, was detained at the Sky Garden nightclub at Kuta beach in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

He faced the possibility of 12 years in jail for possession, but is now set to be released after forensic tests revealed the powder was a mix of four legal substances, including caffeine.

Mr Murphy's blood and urine tests also came back negative for drugs.

Bali police chief Sugeng Priyanto told The Australian: "I have instructed Kuta police chief to release immediately because we have found no evidence against him."

Other Australian media report the substances included painkillers.

'Not mine'

The Perth tourist had maintained his innocence since his arrest.

"It's not mine, I haven't taken it, what are you doing, it's not mine," he said in footage aired by Australia's Nine News.

Image copyright ABC
Image caption Mr Murphy denied this powder-like substance was his

The footage showed a small bag containing a powder-like substance on the floor beside a mobile phone and a hotel key.

Many young Australians travel abroad at this time of year, as part of the mass high school graduation celebrations known as "schoolies".

It is understood that Mr Murphy graduated last year and arrived in Bali with two friends on Sunday.

Teen's parents fly to Bali

The teenager's parents, Brendan and Anna Murphy, left Perth Airport on Wednesday morning to join their son.

Asked by reporters if they had anything to say, Brendan Murphy said: "Just that we love our son."

Gerry Maio, president of the Bayswater City Soccer Club where the teenager plays, said the Mr Murphy's mother was upset by what happened.

"She was in tears as any mother would be," he told ABC radio.

Image copyright ABC
Image caption Brendan and Anna Murphy enter Perth Airport on Wednesday

"He was a very promising athlete in our sport. I haven't even seen him with a bottle of beer in his hand."

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told the Nine Network consular officials made contact with Mr Murphy and were preparing to visit him on Wednesday.

"It is a warning to all those who are going overseas on schoolies weeks, and to their parents and friends, that we are subject to the laws of another country when we visit those countries," she said.

Indonesia has some of the world's toughest drug laws.

Queensland woman Schapelle Corby was convicted in 2005 of trying to smuggle marijuana into Bali.

Her case attracted intense interest in Australia, with prolonged public debate over her guilt or innocence, before she was released from prison in 2014.

Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran were executed in Indonesia last year for drug offences.

They were among a group of Australians dubbed the Bali Nine who travelled to Indonesia in 2005 hoping to bring 8.3kg (18lb) of heroin back to Australia.

Australia briefly withdrew its ambassador from Indonesia after the execution.

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