January 21 2015

January 21, 2015

Tourist Arrivals Peak for 2014

International tourists who holidayed on Bali from January-November 2014 totaled 3.41 million, up 14.78 percent over the same period the previous year where 2.97 million people were recorded entering the island according to the head of the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) of Bali, Denpasar Panusunan Siregar on Friday (2/1). He said the provincial government was targeting 2.9 million foreign tourists during the year 2014. So the estimates have already blown out for 2014, without including visits in the month of December. Australia had 895 069 people, an increase of 18.70 percent over the same period the previous year and a total of 26.18 percent of the total foreign tourists who vacated on the island, then China supplied 539 371 people jumping 49.28 percent over the same period the previous year. Tourists from Malaysia ranked third and rose 14.87 percent to 198 133 people in this period. (January 5th 2015)

NZ Drug Mules Girlfriend Arrested

A woman described as the internet-girlfriend of a New Zealander being held in Bali for alleged drug trafficking, Antony de Malmanche, has also been arrested. De Malmanche was arrested last month, with police alleging he had been trying to bring nearly two kilograms of methamphetamine into Indonesia – an offence punishable by death. At the time of his arrest, Mr. de Malmanche’s family said he was the victim of an internet-dating scam. (January 3rd 2015)

Brazilian Citizen to be First Westerner Executed for Drug Offences in Indonesia

The Indonesian government has rejected clemency for Brazilian citizen Marco Archer Cardoso Moreira, 53, sentenced to death over drug trafficking. Officials say he will be executed “very soon”. President Joko Widodo denied the pardon on December 31st. This was the second time that Moreira asked for the presidential pardon – the first rejection came in 2006. “He is one of the next in the list to be executed – and I can guarantee that the plan is to execute him very soon,” Tony Spontana, the spokesperson for Indonesia’s Public Prosecutor’s Office said. In addition to Moreira, five others will be executed at once. Moreira, who was arrested in 2003 at Jakarta airport with 13.4kg of cocaine inside tubes of a hang-glider will be the first westerner to be executed in Indonesia. (January 9th 2015)

Terror Suspect Amongst “Most Wanted” Shot Dead

Indonesian police have shot dead a terror suspect who was thought to have known the whereabouts of some of the country’s most wanted terrorist leaders. In what police are calling an “ongoing operation”, Indonesia’s anti-terrorism squad Densus 88, with back-up from Sulawesi police, executed a number of raids in Sulawesi over the past three days. On Saturday (10/1) they arrested four terror suspects, allegedly linked to the group calling itself the Mujahedeen of East Indonesia, or MIT. National police spokesman Agus Rianto said a fifth suspect called Ilham Syafii was shot dead after he fled through a plantation and a shootout began. Senior Commander Rianto said Syafii was a suspected courier for MIT and was thought to have known the whereabouts of key terror cell leaders on Indonesia’s “most wanted” list. The head of MIT is a notorious terrorism cell leader called Santoso. Two more suspects with alleged links to Santoso were arrested on Sunday afternoon and Monday morning. (January 12th 2015)

Kiwi in Bali admits bashing girlfriend

A New Zealand man accused of bashing his ex-girlfriend with a motorbike helmet in a Bali street has agreed with a witness account of the assault. Richard James Wackrow, 40, faces up to two years and eight months in jail for assaulting his German ex-girlfriend, known in court papers as Lisa Christina. The pair got into an argument after falling off a motorbike at Jimbaran on September 4. The man who lived nearest to the scene on Monday told a court he saw the fight, and Wackrow throwing his ex-girlfriend’s phone on to the road. The Wellington man slapped the designer and then hit her twice in the face with a motorcycle helmet until her face was bloody, said the man. His nephew took her to hospital where a medical report recorded a broken nose and damage to her cheek and both eyes. When the judge asked Wackrow – who has chosen to defend himself – if the witness statement was true, he told the court: “Yes, absolutely”. (January 13th 2015)

Online Media Used to Spread Wildlife Poaching: Activist

Wildlife poaching in Indonesia in 2014 is spreading through online media, according to the environmental nongovernmental organization PROFAUNA (Protection of Forest and Fauna) according PROFAUNA Indonesia spokesperson Swasti Prawidya Mukti on Thursday (1/1). Wildlife poaching is posing a serious threat to wildlife conservation as most of the animals are being taken from their natural habitat. The species at risk are the Javan eagle, King Cockatoo, Red parrot, gibbon, Java langur, lemur, and eclectus parrot. According to Swasti, 3,640 advertisements appeared on social media in 2014, which offered various forms of wildlife, both for domestic and international markets. China, Kuwait, Taiwan, and France are some of the destinations for smuggled animals from Indonesia. “Wildlife poaching has spread across the country. The government must take this problem seriously,” Swasti said, adding that at least 78 cases of wildlife poaching were reported in 2014. The cases involved a Sumatran Tigers head and skin, 28 beaks of hornbill ivory along with 6 yellow-crested cockatoos, 3 cassowaries, and 53 Lorius lorry from Papua Island. (January 5th 2015)

Indonesia Ticket Price to Include Airport Tax

The airport management company PT Angkasa Pura will include airport tax in the airline ticket price, effective March 2015, according to Angkasa Pura II General Manager Zulfahmi. “The move is intended to improve the services and offer convenience to air transportation users,” Zulfahmi stated here on Thursday (1/1). He explained that Angkasa Pura II in Palembang, South Sumatra, has incorporated the airport tax in the airline ticket price, starting January 1, 2015, for departures effective March 1, 2015. According to Zulfahmi, the policy is being implemented to improve the services offered to passengers, who have to queue up to pay airport tax. (January 5th 2015)

Jokowi Says Indonesia is Safe Despite Security Warning

President Joko Widodo reiterated on Thursday (8/1) that Indonesia was safe and no imminent security threats had been detected, despite a travel warning from Australia and a security warning from the United States. Joko told journalists not to go “overboard” when reporting about the foreign security warnings. “I have not received any information regarding safety issues,” he said. Australia updated its travel advice on Monday just days after the United States embassy in Jakarta issued a security warning for US-affiliated hotels, banks and businesses in Surabaya, East Java. Indonesian authorities have repeatedly said they are not aware of a specific threat, but on Wednesday security forces were put on heightened alert. (January 8th 2015)

Garuda Axes Brisbane-Bali service

Indonesian national carrier Garuda Indonesia is quitting the hotly contested Brisbane-Bali route from February 1, in a move that will be welcomed by rival carriers Jetstar and Virgin Australia. Garuda, which also flies to Bali from Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, said it was restructuring its global operations in response to the weakening Indonesian rupiah and unnamed “other factors” that it says have affected airlines globally. It will also reduce frequency on flights between Indonesia and Japan, retire some aircraft early, sublease others and cut the number of business-class seats on its Boeing 737-800s from 12 to eight. The Australia-Bali route has proved highly competitive during the past few years. (January 12th 2015)

Australian Travel Warning Includes Bali

Australians traveling to Indonesia have been advised to exercise a high degree of caution following intelligence about potential terrorist attacks. The Department of Foreign Affairs says it is receiving information that indicates terrorists may be planning attacks in Indonesia, which could take place at any time. “You should exercise particular caution around locations that have a low level of protective security and avoid places known to be possible terrorist targets,” the department says in its latest travel advice. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said Australia was monitoring the situation in Indonesia “very closely”. “There is always a need for caution when traveling overseas,” the Foreign Minister told reporters in Perth. “Of course we have had the tragic experiences in the past with Bali where Australians have been killed … but we’re working closely with the Indonesian security, intelligence and law enforcement agencies.” Ms Bishop recommended Australians “read the travel advice” available. “Of course in all these situations, people should be very aware of the fact that they are in another country, they’re subject to the laws of another country.” The advice also notes Indonesian immigration staff may refuse entry to Australians with a criminal record, regardless of how long ago the offence took place. Ms Bishop said she would feel comfortable holidaying in Bali now, but that travelers should take out insurance. (January 6th 2015)