Mid-week reading treat
Discover the dark side of Bali
22 Mar 2016
In our first mid-week reading treat of 2016, Kathryn Bonella lifts the lid on Bali's narcotics underworld.
This extract was taken from Kathryn Bonella’s fascinating true crime story, Snowing in Bali.
Among the island's drug dealers 'It's snowing in Bali' is code that the south-east Asian paradise is full of cocaine. For the men who run the country's drug empires, it's time to get rich and party hard.
Snowing in Bali is the story of the drug trafficking and dealing scene that's made Bali one of the world's most important destinations in the global distribution of narcotics. Kathryn Bonella, bestselling author of Hotel K, has been given extraordinary access into the lives of some of the biggest players in Bali's drug world. She charts their rise to incredible wealth and power, and their drug- fuelled lifestyles: filled with orgies, outrageous extravagance and surfing.
From the highs of multi-million dollar deals to the desperate lows of death row in an Indonesian high security jail, Snowing in Bali is a unique, uncensored insight into a hidden world.
ISLAND OF THE SEX GODS
As the two Australian models sashayed into one of Bali’s trendy restaurants, past a table of cut-bodied surfers, they gave flirtatious looks to one guy in particular. His six-pack abs, dazzling smile and beautiful face gave him a shiny allure. Tonight the models were out for some fun, and they’d hit the jackpot – the sexy surfer they were zeroing in on was one of Bali’s biggest cocaine dealers. All the guys at his table were international drug bosses, out for their usual night of fine dining, drugs and girl-hunting. None of them missed the obvious come-on the models gave their friend Rafael. None was surprised, either – he was always being hit on by sexy babes. Tonight they were urging him to ask the girls over to their table, but he was being coy. The girls weren’t. Now seated, they were flashing smiles at Rafael. Wasting no time, they sent a note scribbled on a napkinvia the waiter: ‘Come to our table?’ ‘Go over there, man. You’re crazy if you don’t,’ Rafael’s friends hustled.
‘Okay, okay.’ He pushed back his chair and walked across to the girls. ‘We’ve seen you on the beach at Uluwatu and think you’re hot,’ the blonde one flirted. Rafael was used to this shameless vamping. The Island of the Gods seemed to provide a pass on arrival to relinquish usual inhibitions – the copious drugs and alcohol imbibed also turbo-charging the hedonistic free spirit, ensuring an endless morgasbord of willing girls.
“The line was big, you know . . . sometimes I have to choose; today I’m going to take this one, tomorrow this one . . . was very easy to catch girls. First I was good looking, well dressed, you know, clean. I have a kind of shining; hunter-like . . . some kind of smell or some look that attracts the girls. And I have something to make more interest . . . I can observe . . . beautiful girls, they love drug dealers. They have this fantasy to fuck the drug dealers”.
Rafael was a woman’s fantasy – a mix of sweet and dangerous, charismatic but gentle-natured. He was a nice bad boy. Up close, it was impossible to miss the large diamond in his tooth, the €25,000 steel, black and gold Rolex wrapped around his wrist and the tattoos across his chest and down his arms. Tonight, as usual, he was wearing his 1-kilo gold necklace that hung below his breastbone, framed by a black Armani shirt open to the waist, flaunting his six-pack torso and large chest tattoo of a heart with wings. ‘It means my heart is free to fly wherever it wants.’ With a splash of Paco Rabanne XS his babe-luring outfit was complete, and when he walked into Bali’s bars and restaurants, heads turned, people called, ‘Rafael, Rafael’, and girls flirted like crazy.
“Rafael was the boss: really rich, big car, big gold chains, tattoo on both arms, diamonds in the teeth . . . you see, he is a drug dealer, like he has a sticker ‘drug dealer’ across his forehead.”
– Andre, fellow drug boss