Scharbelle Corby: the Tongan connection

The story of Schabelle Corby, 37, which has drawn the attention of the Australian mainstream media has a Tongan connection.

After serving nine years in Kerobokan prison, Corby was released on parole last Monday, February 10.

She was reported to have arrived at a luxury resort and spa, Sentosa Luxury Villas, in the fashionable Seminyak district.

She will not be able to return to Australia until May 2017.

Corby travelled to Bali in Indonesia with her half-brother James Kisina, 27, in 2004. Indonesian customs found 4.2kg of marijuana inside her boogie board bag at the Ngurah Rai International Airport.

Kisina was carrying a bodyboard bag before Corby was arrested and had appeared in the media to support his sister.

Indonesia is probably the country with the strictest anti-drug laws in the world.

In January 2013 a British grandmother Lindsay Sandford, 56, was convicted by a district court for smuggling US$1,664,121.56 worth of cocaine in to the Indonesian island.

She is now facing a firing squad after she lost her appeal againts her death sentence in Bali in August last year.

Corby, however maintained that she did not put the marijuana in her boogie bag

Her conviction raised many questions about the Indonesian justice system and many people asked whether she was properly sentenced.

Corby’s mother Rosemarie married for the third time to Tongan-born James Kisina and they produced James Sioeli Kisina, 27,  and Melenae Kisina 24.

Supporters gathered at Corby’s mother’s home in Longanlea south of Brisbane, early this week to celebrate the news that her daughter had been released on parole.

This week Kisina, and friends Alyth Jeffers and Katrina Richards, who travelled to Bali with Corby in 2004, were reported to have come outside to open a bottle of champagne in front of reporters.

Kisina hinted at a lucrative TV deal, saying: “That's an expensive question, man.”

The Brisbane Courier-Mail reported that Corby’s family could be heard cheering and celebrating inside their Loganlea home as more family and friends joined the party.

The newspaper said Kisina left the Loganlea home at midday with two men in a car and was drinking beer.

“I’m excited to see her,” Kisina  said.

“It’s been a very long nine years.”

He returned a short time later with more alcohol and said he was speechless.

“We’re just going to go party,” he said.


Australian Seven network paid  Corby AU$2 million for a tell-all interview following her release from prison in Bali.

But Bali prison boss Farid Junaedi warned any interview may land her in jail.

Head of Parole Board Ketutsaid, “We'd have to review what exactly has been said, and it will be … not instantly. If she says something [bad] … we’ll advise her, warn her, but if it’s fatal, we’ll definitely review [her parole].”

Ketut reiterated to Fairfax Media that Corby did not need any official permission to do an interview, but said: “We do expect them to advise us,” so they could report back to Jakarta.

“We want to make sure that our [parole] officer is there to guide Corby and then we’ll need to report to our [department’s] director-general to let him know what happened.”

A Law professor at Mahasaraswati University in Bali, Ketut Sukawati Lanang Perbawa, said the prospect of a paid interview was "an insult against Indonesia and against President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono as the symbol of Indonesia.”


Schapelle Corby is an Australian woman convicted of smuggling drugs into  Indonesia.

She was convicted on May 27, 2005 for brining 4.2 kg (9.3 lb) of cannabis into Bali.

Corby was sentenced to 20 years in prison by the Denpasar District Court and imprisoned in Kerobokan Prison.

She maintained the drugs were planted in her body board bag and that she did not know about them.

The main points

  • Convicted Australian drug smuggler Schabelle Corby has a Tongan connection.
  • Corby travelled to Bali with her half-brother James Kisina in 2004 when Indonesian customs found 4.2kg of marijuana in her bag.
  • Kisina is the son of Corby’s mother by her third marriage to Tongan-born James Kisina.
  • After serving nine years in Kerobokan prison, Corby was released on parole last Monday, February 10.
  • The Brisbane Courier-Mail reported that Kisina and other family members had gathered at his mother’s house to celebrate her release.
  • Indonesian prison authorities have reacted angrily at news that Corby has been paid Aus$2 million for a television interview.

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