Local News


New ways Bali airport is catching drug smugglers

9News has gone behind-the-scenes with Bali airport customs officials, as arrests spike of would-be drug smugglers. Despite Indonesia’s harsh trafficking penalties, plenty of foreigners are still attempting to run the gauntlet and putting their lives on the line to do so. 25 people were detained in 2017, including two Australians, for attempting to traffic through the holiday island’s international airport, post or cargo. Then last year arrests spiked with 75 people detained, again two of them Aussie. And 2019 is on track to match that or even exceed it with 59 arrests so far, three from Australia. “Maybe, they think that the Indonesian market is quite         high because we have a really high population in numbers, and also at the same time the number of drugs circulating the country is maybe so little, that it makes the price so expensive,” said Teddy Triatmojo from the Ngurah Rai Customs and Excise Office.

Officials said an increasing number of traffickers were risking their lives by carrying drugs inside their bodies. Of those still using suitcases, one Peruvian man took it to the extreme, found to have made a bag from cocaine and sentenced to 10 years behind bars.

While 9News was on the beat with the Bali airport customs unit, Mr Teddy explained how officers become masters of reading body language, keeping watch on more than 20 million travellers a year. “He’s looking for the behaviours, for how they behave during the line and also gestures when they’re submitting their customs declarations,” he said. We watch as the screens of luggage scanners light up with colours and shapes, providing important information to officers. “Many of the cases for the smuggler putting the narcotic in the false compartment are managed to be identified through the image on the X-ray machine,” Mr Teddy said.

A common mistake among travellers is bringing medication without a doctor’s note, or worse, not knowing that some are banned altogether. Another is bringing more than a litre of alcohol, 9News there as the contents of plenty of bottles are poured into bins. Travellers are often critical of Bali airport for its lengthy processing times but soon they could be a thing of the past. The travel hub is set to trial an online customs declaration system that then gives passengers a digital barcode on their mobile phones that can be quickly scanned as they move through the airport. But officers warn it’ll only strengthen their surveillance. [www.9news.com November 2, 2019]

100 trash barriers to be installed on Bali rivers to prevent trash going into the sea

Bali is the number one tourism destination in Indonesia with approximately 16 million domestic and foreign tourists visiting the island every year. The tourism industry contributed approximately USD 7.6 billion or Rp 100 trillion during 2018, or 40 percent of Indonesia’s tourism sector income. Unfortunately, the visits have dropped significantly in 2019, which has affected tourist spending, with a drop of eight percent so far recorded.

According to many, one of the main reasons for the drop is because rubbish has become a major problem on the island, especially on the beaches and the sea, which are the main tourist attractions. Bali produces approximately 1.6 million tons of trash per year, and 20 percent of that trash is single use plastic. To help solve this issue, Bir Bintang, the iconic beer of Indonesia, is cooperating with environment activist and Make a Change World founder, Gary Bencheghib, to launch a campaign to introduce responsible waste management in  order to protect Bali. “We did this to show our commitment to support the Indonesia tourism industry and keep Bali as the star destination. We believe that the best way to prevent trash running to the beach and sea should be started from responsible waste management behavior and the local habit of throwing rubbish into the river should be eliminated immediately,” said PT Multi Bintang Indonesia Niaga Marketing Director, Mariska van Drooge, to suara.com in Bali.

Mariska said that the campaign involved the installation of 100 trash booms in Bali. The trash boom is an affordable technological solution to trap the rubbish on the river which was developed by an environmental startup company from Germany, Plastic Fisher. Trash booms have been proven to prevent trash moving along rivers, drains and to beaches. “During the last 10 years, we have launched several expeditions to the most polluted rivers in the world and we saw that we need to do something. That’s why we are glad that we can start the project in Bali on our tenth anniversary,” said Bencheghib. As a start, three trash booms will be installed on Ayung River branches. The first one has been installed on Tukad Yeh Poh or Yeh Poh River in Kerobokan Kelod. They plan to install more in the next few weeks and they will start an interactive education campaign of waste management to increase the awareness of the people about throwing trash into the river.

“We created an effective trash boom made from local materials which offers a simple and efficient solution in collecting trash from the rivers as soon as possible. The product is easy to install and easily maintained. We have implemented it successfully on Citarum River, West Java, with great success,” said the leading engineer of Plastic Fischer, Moritz Schulz. To track the efficiency and the progress of the campaign, an online platform called River Watch has been activated with the purpose to monitor the river water and provide education to the public. [seminyaktimes.com November 8, 2019]

Bronco Fifita finally free after Bali jail time… but now faces NRL integrity unit probe

Brisbane NRL star David Fifita has been released from an Indonesian police station and will race to catch a flight and return to Australia on Monday night after three days behind bars. The holidaying 19-year-old allegedly hit a Bali nightclub security guard, who later withdrew his complaint after reaching a so-called “peace agreement” with the Broncos’ forward. Fifita had been in custody since Saturday and, facing a suspension and fine, is due to be interviewed by the NRL’s integrity unit on his return to Brisbane. Fifita’s lawyer said his client “doesn’t remember” much of the incident, while the Broncos flew welfare officer Adam Walsh to the scene to help to resolve the issue. Walsh was on hand to help finalise his release on Monday morning, when Fifita was finally able to change out of the clothes he had worn since Friday night. “He is free; his release papers have been signed,” Fifita’s lawyer Muhammad Rifan told The Sydney Morning Herald on Monday.

The pair hope to catch the afternoon flight out of Bali and land in Brisbane later on Monday night. The security guard said he wasn’t seeking compensation and, after accepting an apology, signed the agreement on Sunday, which shaped as Fifita’s best hope of being released. A police report obtained by the Seven Network said Fifita was not able to be interrogated initially because he was under the influence of alcohol. The incident took place at the same nightspot where Melbourne NRL player Nelson Asofa-Solomona was involved in a wild brawl a month ago, which resulted in a three-game ban and a suspended $15,000 fine.

The latest incident comes a fortnight after Fifita had captained a Junior Kangaroos team to a win over France in Wollongong. Fifita was also among the Broncos’ players left red-faced when criticised for playing the pokies the night before they were beaten by Parramatta in an embarrassing NRL finals exit. Set to enter the final year of his contract with Brisbane, Fifita is widely considered the hottest free agent available for the 2021 season and reportedly the target of $1 million season offers. [www.foxsports.com.au November 11, 2019]

President decrees the use of Indonesian language in branding products and services

Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo has issued a decree   (Perpres Nomor 63 Tahun 2019) requiring the use of the Indonesian language for naming products and services in Indonesia. As reported by CNN Indonesia, the decree signed on September 30, 2019, requires the use of the Indonesian language on goods made by Indonesian legal entities. The requirement does not apply for trademarks and branding originating from a foreign licensee. In addition to requiring branding of products using the Indonesian language, services offered in Indonesia must also be branded with the Indonesian language.

Moreover, Indonesian must also be used in printed specifications, materials listings, instructions, assembly guides, user manuals, possible side effects, measurements, date of manufacture, and date of expiration. Buildings must also be labeled with Indonesian names – a requirement that will include apartments, complexes, office buildings and shopping centers – whether these structures are owned by foreign or Indonesian entities. This will include   hotels, accommodation addresses, airports, seaports, terminals, stations, factories, monuments, dams, tunnels, workplaces, meeting facilities, entertainment centers, concert areas, and housing estates. Exceptions will be granted to the naming rule for buildings deemed to have historical value, cultural legacies, or compelling religious histories. In setting out the new rules, the President has not stipulated penalties for those who fail to follow the language imperative.

[balidiscovery.com November 12, 2019]

Sydney woman sentenced after tragically  killing teen in Bali motorbike crash

A Sydney woman who moved to Bali to escape the grief of losing her husband in an accident has been sentenced to three months and 15 days in jail after tragically killing a teenage motorcyclist in a head-on collision. Susan Leslie O’Brien was found guilty of one count of negligent driving causing the death of 19-year-old Rizki Akbar Putra on August 14. The three-and-a-half month jail term is less than the six months recommended by prosecutors and well below the six-year available maximum for the crime. The sentence means O’Brien would be released at the end of November, with time served.

O’Brien ran head on into Rizki as she tried to overtake a truck on a west Bali road, about three hours from Denpasar. He said O’Brien’s actions were aggravated by the fact that a young man lost his life. In mitigation, the Judge said there had been a peace agreement between O’Brien and the victim’s family, she had paid them compensation and had no criminal record. Prosecutors had submitted that O’Brien was driving without caution when she attempted to overtake the truck.

In Negara District court, Rizki’s mother told the Judges she had forgiven O’Brien and in emotional scenes the pair embraced and wept in court. O’Brien told the Judges during her trial that several years ago she had watched her husband killed in an accident and she had moved to Jembrana in Bali to start a new chapter in her life and  escape the dark memories of her husband’s death. O’Brien said she had been crippled by the grief of her husband’s death and decided to start a new chapter in Bali, setting up a free English course, providing quarantine for abandoned dogs and helping to develop a silver handicraft industry in the area.

‘I never once in my life intended to cause trouble here but the reality is different.’ “I am deeply in love with Indonesia and Jembrana in particular and I already consider that Indonesia and the Jembrana community, in particular, are part of my life. “I never once in my life intended to cause trouble here but the reality is different. I have made the people of Jembrana sad because of this problem. “Therefore I ask the victim’s family, all the audience here, Jembrana community and the Indonesian people, in general, to forgive my negligence and deign to allow me   to continue to carry out social activities in Jembrana Regency after this incident.” [7news.com.au November 5, 2019]