Schapelle Corby arrives back in Australia amid a media frenzy

LATEST | Schapelle Corby is believed to be spending her first night of freedom in more than 12 years in a luxury Brisbane hotel.

The convicted drug smuggler, who arrived back in Australia from Indonesia just after 5am on Sunday, is yet to show her face.

She was flanked by security and her sister Mercedes, as she boarded a plane at Denpesar Airport on Saturday night and remained under a veil as she disembarked at Brisbane Airport.


A convoy of cars then snaked their way along the motorway, with one stopping by the Sofitel in the city.

Another went via a petrol station on the northern Gold Coast before taking Mercedes Corby to her mother’s house in Loganlea.

Schapelle is expected to move in to her sister’s home in Tugun, but for now is believed to be bunkered down away from the media.

The 39-year-old does appear to be enjoying her first taste of social media and is quickly becoming somewhat of a Insta-celebrity.

She has gained more than 100,000 followers since creating a profile overnight. There are just eight posts on her account so far, most of which document her journey to freedom.


A post shared by Schapellecorby (@schapelle.corby) on

EARLIER: SCHAPELLE Corby is back on Australian soil after spending almost 13 years as a prisoner in Bali and has made her way through the city of Brisbane in extraordinary fashion.

The convicted drug smuggler touched down in Brisbane just after 5am, almost 30 minutes earlier than expected after she and her sister Mercedes managed to dupe a frenzied media pack and switch planes at the 11th hour.

The pair has managed to outsmart the media yet again after slipping away from Brisbane Airport unnoticed.

The duo was whisked away from their plane in a convoy of vehicles which was lead out of a secret exit.

The motorcade then split into multiple smaller convoys which peeled off in different directions in an effort to confuse pursuing media.

It’s understood one motorcade has pulled up outside the Sofitel Hotel in the centre of Brisbane while a second appears to be making its way to the Gold Coast.

It is not known which vehicle Schapelle is in.

The Queensland Police Service took to Twitter to confirm they were not involved in escorting the Corby convoy.

5:30AM AEST | CONVICTED drug smuggler turned social media star Schapelle Corby is back on Australian soil after spending almost 13 years as a prisoner in Bali.

The 39-year-old touched down in Brisbane just after 5am, almost 30 minutes earlier than expected after she and her sister Mercedes duped a frenzied media pack and switched planes at the 11th hour.

After spending more than five hours alone in the air together, away from the prying eyes of the media, the Corby sisters’ Malindo Airlines flight is now on the tarmac at Brisbane International Airport.

The Virgin flight turned ‘media plane’ was trailing behind Corby’s jet and touched down around 10 minutes later.

It is expected Corby will be escorted through a private exit at the airport, rather than being ushered through the public arrivals terminal in an attempt to avoid the waiting media scrum.

EARLIER: Corby was deported from the Indonesian island last night, 12 years to the day after she was sentenced to 20 years’ in Kerobokan Prison for smuggling 4.2kg of cannabis into Denpasar airport in her boogie board bag in October 2004.

The then 27-year-old served just nine years of her 20-year sentence behind bars and three on parole after being granted clemency by former Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhiyono.

After signing her release papers late yesterday afternoon, the now 39-year-old was ushered through a frenzied media pack and whisked away in a black van to Denpasar International Airport from where she was due to board a Virgin flight to Brisbane.

But the Gold Coast beautician duped the large media contingent that had hoped to accompany her on the flight back to Australia and swapped planes at the 11th hour.

Corby instead boarded a Malindo Air flight to Brisbane 10 minutes earlier with her sister Mercedes, leaving dozens of photographers, reporters and other members of the Australian media on the Virgin flight.

A photo of her Virgin Australia boarding pass was even circulated on social media, showing her seated in 1A.

But the last-minute switch was confirmed when Mercedes posted a photo of the real tickets to Instagram.

Corby, who has been documenting her deportation on her new Instagram account, also posted an image of herself on the Malindo Air flight, looking out of the window towards the Virgin Australia plane.

On the eve of her deportation, Corby set up an Instagram account which by 5:30am AEST, had 71,000 followers.

She has used the public account to document her own journey home, posting pictures of her beloved pet dogs, her Bali family and her parole papers, as well as a clip of the crazed media pack filmed from inside her getaway van.

“Oooh that’s a big one,” Mercedes can be heard saying in the video, referring to a large camera peering through the van’s tinted windows. “If it shines you they can see you with their lights.”

Photos of the convicted criminal unmasked inside the Parole Board office in Denpasar and of her emergency passport issued to enable her deportation were also widely circulated on social media.

Corby was photographed clutching a handbag emblazoned with a photo of missing Australian toddler William Tyrell who disappeared from Kendall in NSW in 2014.

Corby was photographed by officials unmasked inside the Parole Board office in Denpasar – a photo which was since gone viral.

A snapshot of Corby’s emergency passport was also widely circulated on social media