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Local man prepares for drug trial

Bali Nine suspects, from left, Si Yi Chen and Wellington Point man Tach Duc Thanh Nguyen, inside the jail of the prosecutors' office in Denpasar, Bali Province, Indonesia. The heroin smuggling trial is expected to begin within a fortnight. EPA/ARDILES RANTE
Bali Nine man Tach Duc Thanh Nguyen, of Wellington Point, is expected to face trial for alleged heroin trafficking within a fortnight.

The 22-year-old was detained in Indonesia more than five months ago with eight other young adults for allegedly attempting to export the narcotic into Australia.

The arrests were the result of a trans-national crime investigation conducted by the Australian Federal Police and the Indonesian National Police.

However, contrary to media reports that all nine have been charged and face the death penalty, a government source said until charges were confirmed at the first hearing "it is not certain which, if any, of the accused will face the death penalty".

Talk of the death penalty disturbed some acquaintances of Tach's family.

One woman, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Tach was a "very quiet ... good boy" who enjoyed tinkering with his modified car.

Another source said while she couldn't "understand people taking that risk ... you have to feel for the families and everyone else involved".

She criticised the AFP for failing to arrest the syndicate in this country, making it easier for their families to provide support.

Her comments were echoed by vocal human rights advocate Kay Danes, of Wellington Point, who recently spoke to and offered assistance to Tach's parents.

She said humanitarians based in Indonesia were willing to supply practical, basic necessities to Tach during his imprisonment if his family wished.

"I feel sad for them (Tach's family). They are such lovely people," said Kay.

Tach would be in a "numb state of expectation ... knowing that today could be the day for anything to happen - things can change at a drop of a hat," she said.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed Tach had not yet been charged, although Indonesian prosecutors handed the case dossiers to Denpassar District Court three days ago.

The three-month-long trial was likely to commence within a fortnight. Tach would be tried with Sydney men Si Yi Chen and Matthew Norman while the other six would be tried separately.

Tach's family declined The Redland Times' request for an interview.

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