An Australian man could face the death penalty after allegedly being caught carrying dozens of drug-filled capsules in his stomach in Bali.

Edward Norman Myatt, 54, was last night in custody after being stopped at Denpasar’s airport having flown in from Bangkok.

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He was ushered into a secure area at the airport, where a preliminary examination was performed. Myatt, from Ballarat in Victoria, was then taken to hospital. He is yet to be charged.

Indonesian police sources said he was allegedly carrying a large quantity of drugs on his body, concealed inside tiny capsules. The contents will be analysed in coming days.

A Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokeswoman said consular officials were trying to get approval to offer assistance to Myatt.

“Indonesian authorities detained a 54-year-old Victorian man at Denpasar airport on 28 February and expect to charge him with drug offences,” the spokeswoman said. “Consular officials in Bali are seeking access in order to offer consular assistance to the man.”

Myatt is the latest in a long list of Australians picked up on drug smuggling allegations at Ngurah Rai Airport in recent years. Among those arrested on drug charges since 2005 have been the Bali Nine, cannabis mule Schapelle Corby and a teen from NSW, who was charged last year but since released.

Lawyer Julian McMahon, who represents Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran of the Bali Nine, said it was vital for suspects in Bali to behave well.

“They (local police) regard the way you conduct yourself as important,” Mr McMahon said.

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