British father-of-two, 45, faces 15 years in a Bali jail

British father-of-two, 45, faces 15 years in a Bali jail

December 18, 2018

British father-of-two, 45, who faces 15 years in a Bali jail after smuggling in liquid cannabis ‘to help with his arthritis’ admits his actions were ‘foolish and dumb’

  • Pip Holmes, from Cornwall, was detained for drug smuggling on December 3
  • He was arrested after he went to collect a package contained 31g of THC oil
  • He says he asked a friend to send him the oil because it helps with his arthritis

A British father facing up to 15 years in a Bali prison after being caught with liquid cannabis that he says helps with his arthritis has admitted his actions were ‘foolish and dumb.’

Pip Holmes, 45, was arrested for drug smuggling after he went to collect a package from Thailand that contained 31g of medicinal THC oil poured into essential oil bottles.

Holmes, an artist from Cornwall who is living in Bali, told the BBC that he had asked a friend to send him the cannabis oil because it helps with his arthritis.

He admits his actions were ‘foolish and dumb’ and that he was aware of the penalty he would face in Indonesia, which has extremely strict anti-drug laws and regularly arrests foreigners on drug-related offences.

Homes was arrested on December 3 after going to pick up the package.

Pip Holmes, 45, was arrested for drug smuggling in Bali after he went to collect a package from Thailand that contained 31g of medicinal THC oil poured into essential oil bottles

Pip Homes (second from right) was paraded by Balinese authorities last week alongside four others accused of drug smuggling

He was transferred to a police hospital rehabilitation facility after six days in a police cell after his lawyers argued he was a drug user as opposed to a trafficker.

Nevertheless, Holmes still faces a drug trafficking charge – which can carry the death penalty in Indonesia.

But he is convinced that will not be the case because the amount of drugs he was caught with so was small.

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He claims the 31g of cannabis that police reported he was found with included the weight of the essential oil bottles, which were 28g.

Last week, he was paraded by Indonesian authorities along with four others accused of smuggling drugs in a press conference he described as ‘bizarre’ and ‘harrowing.’ 

He was pictured in a balaclava which was later removed alongside the four men – a Malaysian, a Peruvian, a German and a Chinese man.

Bali police said they had been arrested separately over the past two weeks and could face execution if convicted under Indonesia’s strict drug laws.

‘It feels like a great injustice, but I’m not in the UK, I’m in Bali, so it’s my own fault,’ Holmes told the BBC from the rehabilitation centre, where he is guarded by two men, after the conference.

From left, Jorge Rafael Albornoz Gammara of Peru, Frank Zeidler of Germany, Cui Bao Lin of China, Pip Holmes from Britain, and Hamdi Izham Hakimi of Malaysia

Relaxed rules mean that medical cannabis products can now be legally prescribed to some patients in the UK. However, access remains limited.

Holmes says he has had arthritis for eight years, which he claims was caused by years of Thai boxing.

He added: ‘Marijuana makes a considerable difference to the pain – it’s not a leisure activity for me.’

The avid surfer has two kids, an eight-year-old daughter and an 11-year-old son, who live in the UK with his ex-wife.

But despite knowing how strict Indonesia is about drugs, he took the risk.

He arrived in October to spend a couple of months painting and surfing.

‘I knew what I was getting into. I knew there were very strict laws but I chose to come here anyway because the surf is the best in the world,’ he said.

Peruvian Jorge Rafael Gammara, left, and German national Frank Zeidler, right, are two of the five people accused of smuggling in Bali over the last two weeks by Indonesian police 

Gammara, left, and Zeidler, right, are accused of smuggling drugs into Indonesia, which has very strict laws against such trafficking which could see them face the death penalty 

Now, he fears he is facing a sentence of up to 15 years in Bali’s notorious Kerobokan prison, which he describes as ‘terrifying.’

He is next due to appear in court in January.

Foreigners are regularly caught trying to bring drugs into Bali, which draws millions of visitors annually.

There are dozens of traffickers on death row in Indonesia, including a cocaine-smuggling British grandmother, an American caught with crystal methamphetamine, and several west African inmates sentenced to death for drug crimes.

High-profile cases like that of Australian Schapelle Corby, who spent more than nine years behind bars for smuggling marijuana into Bali, have stoked concern that Indonesia is becoming a destination for trafficked drugs.

Corby was deported in 2017 after several years of parole.


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