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Australian clubbers busted in Bali over cocaine

The two men tried to shield their faces as they were paraded in orange prison jumpsuits in front of media (AFP Photo/Yuda A RIYANTO)

Two Australian clubbers arrested in Bali for cocaine possession were paraded in front of local media Tuesday as they faced a possible 12-year jail term, police said.

William Cabantog, 36, and David Van Iersel, 38, were nabbed Friday night at a nightclub in Canggu, a popular tourist hotspot on the Indonesian holiday island.

Police said they found a bag with 1.1 grams of cocaine in Cabantog's trousers during the raid. Both men admitted to having bought and used the drug, they added.

The pair had lived in Bali for several months, police said.

"We received a tip-off that some Australians were using drugs so we investigated the case for a week and it turned out the information was true," Denpasar police chief Ruddi Setiawan told a press conference Tuesday.

Cabantog, a hotel consultant, and Iersel, a nightclub promoter, tried to shield their faces as they were paraded in orange prison jumpsuits in front of media -- a common practice in Indonesia, which has some of the world's strictest drugs laws including the death penalty for trafficking.

The pair face a maximum 12 years in prison and an 800 million rupiah ($57,000) fine if found guilty.

Foreigners are regularly arrested for drugs offences in Bali and several have been executed by firing squad, including Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran in 2015, a case that sparked a diplomatic row between Australia and Indonesia.

The accused ringleaders of the Bali Nine drug syndicate were caught attempting to smuggle heroin from Indonesia to Australia.

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.