The release of Schapelle Leigh Corby from Denpasar Penitentiary, widely known as Kerobokan prison, on Monday morning turned, as predicted, into a boisterous fanfare involving hundreds of police personnel, a huge crowd of competing journalists, private security guards with decoy vehicles, and a surprise closing scene at a luxurious villa with a helicopter hovering overhead.
Since early morning, Indonesian and Australian journalists had besieged the prison, further aggravating traffic conditions on one of the busiest roads in the Kerobokan area.
Scores of Australian television stations, including Channel 9 and Channel 7, carried out a live broadcast on the release of the woman prisoner once dubbed the Ganja Queen, whose arrest, trial and later conviction had become a high profile saga for the two neighbouring countries.
At around 8.20 a.m. Corby was escorted by security officers out of the prison. As many as 106 police officers were assigned to secure the process.
She was immediately greeted by the incessant and blinding lights of dozens of cameras operated by television crews and photojournalists. None of them got a clear picture of her face since Corby had covered it with a combination of a hat and several scarves.
The Kerobokan prison warden, Farid Junaedi, ensured that Corby was in good condition when she was released.
"She was a bit unsettled and asked why there were so many people and journalists here," Junaedi said, reminding that Corby was officially still an inmate and that she would immediately be taken back to the prison if she committed any breach of the law.
The car sped to the Denpasar Prosecutor's Office near downtown Denpasar, where she would sign several documents, and later to the Denpasar Correctional Board, where she would get her fingerprints taken, in North Denpasar.
"Corby needs to have her paperwork completed, fingerprints taken, to sign release requirements," head of the intelligence section at the Denpasar Prosecutor's Office, Agus Kasim Antara, said.
During her parole, Corby will be supervised by the prosecutor's office. Thus, Corby should report to the prosecutor's office once a month.
The car that transported her was continuously followed by a large contingent of security officers and an elongated entourage of ojek (motorcycle taxis) carrying journalists.
Corby arrived at the Denpasar Correctional Board at around 9:16 a.m. and left thirty minutes later. Four cars, including three luxury Alphard minivans, were seen parking inside the compound. The small fleet was prepared by Corby's family to transport her. Several men, believed to be private security guards, were seen guarding the cars.
It turned out that all the Alphards were mere decoys as Corby jumped into a more humble minivan and sped away.
Another surprise soon revealed itself to the tailing journalists. The black minivan that carried Corby went directly to Sentosa Seminyak, a luxurious hotel in Jl. Pura Telaga Waja in Petitenget, instead of her brother-in-law's house at Jl. Pantai Kuta, Gg. Lotring no. 14. That despite the fact that the latter's address was registered on the parole document as Corby's residence during parole.
A member of staff at Denpasar Correctional Board said that Corby's brother-in-law, Wayan Widyartha, had informed her that Corby would not stay at his house. He claimed that the move aimed to give Corby quiet time away from the journalists. He also revealed that a Hindu ceremony was taking place in front of the lane leading to his house and he didn't want the ceremony interrupted by the arrival of journalists.
The board head, Ketut Artha, said that Corby was free to go and stay any place on the island, as long as she informed the board beforehand.
"She can stay at another place, as long as she tell us, and reports once a week to the board," Artha said.
Staying in a luxury villa in Kuta apparently did not protect Corby from the prying eyes of journalists. Later in the afternoon, a helicopter was seen circling above the hotel. It was reportedly carrying several journalists onboard.