The cell was so cramped there was not even enough room to lay down, and some of the prisoners, left there for months at a time, ate flattened cockroaches in order to survive. If that wasn’t enough, the sadism of the guards goes far, far beyond anything you could possibly imagine. In one particularly nauseating episode, Fellows (who was imprisoned there in the late 70’s) writes how a guard forced a bunch of the prisoners to stand in a septic tank, chin-deep in excrement for many hours, because they’d been playing a dice game in their cell.
With stories like these (about Warren Fellows’ experiences in “Bangkok Hilton”), it is little wonder that so many foreigners have a macabre interest in prisons in the SE Asian region - and in the foreigner prisoners who are incarcerated in such terrible places too.
Prisoners like Schapelle Corby, who’s going to have to spend the next 16 years or so in Bali’s infamous Kerobokan Jail (unless the Indonesian and Australian government’s can make a prisoner exchange deal).
So enter Eddie Hutauruk, who is doing a roaring trade in bringing inquisitive foreign tourists to Kerobokan Jail to see the situation with their very own eyes.
This Indonesian entrepreneur even advertises his services through his own website (thanks to Nick of Bali Blog for the link):
My name is Eddie Hutauruk and I have been running tours in Bali for over 8 years. Schapelle Corby Tours is our latest venture, and is fully respectful of Schapelle and her situation. Have your photo taken infront of Schapelle in her cage. Small gifts can be given to Schapelle to encourage her to pose and smile in your photos. Watch Schapelle being fed at either lunch or dinner. Optional extra: for just $10 AUD or more you can feed Schapelle yourself – watch her face light up as you throw various pieces of food to her.
But Corby’s supporters aren’t too impressed:
"It's cruel. It's nasty. She's suffered enough. Schapelle is not a freak show," Corby Supporters Club spokeswoman Rachelle Hamilton complained.
Bali-based Australian pastor Ed Trotter, who regularly visits and provides spiritual counselling to the Australians, has watched the rising number of jail tourists with alarm.
"If they are coming to visit for the right reasons it's fine but some of it is celebrity voyeurism," he said.
Queensland Prisoners Legal Service co-ordinator Susan Bothmann said the tours were potentially a threat to Corby's mental health because they treated her like she was a "monkey in a zoo".
But a zoo is exactly what Kerobokan Jail must be like.
Even so, it isn’t all pain and misery in Indonesia’s jails. Sometimes it can even be fun. As can be seen in the international DVD release this year of the classic 1987 Indonesian movie “Virgins from Hell”.
The wonderfully tacky Virgins From Hell tells the tale of a gang of female bikers with big hair-sprayed do's and latex/pvc halter top action suits who, for reasons that are really never made all that clear, head into the thick of the dangerous jungle where they launch and all out assault on the secret stronghold of the notorious and nefarious Mr. Tiger.
The girls' surprise attack doesn't go as planned though, and soon enough, Mr. Tiger and his gang of evil and poorly dressed mercenary henchmen type's have captured the lovely ladies and imprisoned them in his underground prison facility. It's here that the girls learn of his latest scheme - it seems that Mr. Tiger intends to take over the world wide market for aphrodisiacs with his latest narcotic and he intends to test the results of his goods on the gals! To make matters worse, there's a - gasp - lesbian prison warden working in the employ of Mr. Tiger, and she's going to have her way with the girls whether they like it or not!
To find out if Mr. Tiger is successful in winning over the lovely ladies you’ll just have to watch the film. Unfortunately, though, it doesn’t seem to be available in Jakarta – and neither do ANY of Indonesia’s classic exploitation movies of the 1980s/1990s. Have they been banned by the powers that be? Because they certainly aren’t around anymore…