Operation Playboy is Kathryn’s fourth book. It tells two sides of the true crime story — the playboy surfers using sports equipment to smuggle cocaine from South America to Amsterdam, Bali and Australia, and the Federal Police chase to catch them.
These playboys live glamorous jet-set lives but they pirouette on a global high-wire with much further to fall than most.
Two of the Brazilian surfers Kathryn interviewed, who’d been busted at Jakarta Airport trying to smuggle kilos of cocaine to Bali in surfboards and a hang glider frame, were executed by firing squad on Indonesia’s Nusakambangan Island in 2015.
Schapelle Corby – No More Tomorrows (My Story)
In 2004 Kathryn produced a story for 60 Minutes on a 27-year-old Australian beauty school student, Schapelle Corby, who had just been arrested in at Bali airport with 4.2 kilos of marijuana in her body-board bag. This was the story that springboard Kathryn from journalist to author. After Schapelle was sentenced to 20 years in jail, Kathryn quit 60 Minutes and went to Bali to work with Schapelle on her autobiography. On its release, the book went straight to number one in Australia, giving Kathryn a voice in the true crime genre and Schapelle a voice from her cell. But she faced a further 17 more years in jail with her story still exploding all around her.
During the interviews with Schapelle, Kathryn had spent hundreds of hours inside Bali’s Kerobokan Prison, witnessing a bizarre, corrupt and violent world and it seemed an obvious next book. Kathryn and Schapelle had created the jail’s nickname, Hotel Kerobokan/Hotel K, which seemed the perfect title.
Kathryn returned to Bali for 18 months, going back into Kerobokan Prison and doing hundreds of interviews with prisoners, past and present, including; the King of Denpasar – who stabbed his brother to death with a sword; Bali Nine heroin traffickers, Gordon Ramsay’s heroin addicted brother Ronnie and surfers on extended holidays – as well as prison guards and the Hotel K security boss.
The book, Hotel Kerobokan, exposed sex, violence and corruption. When Italian jeweller Juri, busted with kilos of cocaine in his surfboard bag at Denpasar Airport, paid the guards to take him to Kuta Beach – instead of the dentist which was his excuse to leave the jail – his mum carried a beach bag full of their guns, and the guards wore his board shorts. Many guards are on the dealers’ payrolls and the jail is awash with drugs – police require a permit to raid the jail, but by the time they’ve obtained one, the guards have warned the bosses. The guards also facilitate wild sex nights under the stars for those prisoners who can afford to pay.
Hotel Kerobokan caused huge controversy on its release and quickly became an international bestseller.
Snowing in Bali
Kathryn followed Hotel Kerobokan with Snowing in Bali, breaking the story of drugs trafficked to the holiday island in surfboards, windsurf booms and other sports equipment. Through her connections from the first two books, Kathryn gained unprecedented access to the world of Bali’s biggest drug bosses. Many of the dealers had read Hotel Kerobokan and liked it, and most importantly, it proved Kathryn wasn’t an undercover cop. The bosses agreed to be interviewed, some western, some local – opening up over more than two years of recorded interviews with graphic details of orgies in luxury villas, the secrets of trafficking drugs and busts in Sweden, Brazil, Bali and Amsterdam. Two of the cocaine traffickers she interviewed, Marco Archer Moreira and Rodrigo Gularte, were executed by firing squad.
Schapelle Corby – No More Tomorrows (My Story) – revised and updated
In 2019 Kathryn again worked with Schapelle Corby to update My Story (No More Tomorrows), filling in the years since the first book release in 2006. It includes Schapelle dark years in jail where she became suicidal and spent many tights huddled in the cell ceiling cavity; her release on parole in Bali and return home to Australia in 2017. Now, she’s 42. In the book she reveals her dreams for the future, like having a baby with the love of her life, Ben, who she met in Hotel K. But she is philosophical and tries to live in the moment and enjoy her life and family in Australia.