Local News

Indonesia extends international flight ban until February 8

The Indonesian government has decided to extend its international flight ban for another 14 days. The extension will be carried out from January 26 to February 8, 2021.

The decision comes as COVID-19 cases continue to surge across the country.

The Indonesian Economic Minister, Airlangga Hartanto made the announcement during a press conference on Thursday (21/1).

“For restrictions on foreigners to Indonesia, an extension of the ban is also carried out, from January 26 to February 8, 2021,” said Hartarto.

The ban forbids foreign nationals from entering the country, however the following are exempt from the policy: expats with diplomatic visa, KITAS and KITAP holders, licensed expats from institutions or ministries, Indonesian citizens returning to the country.

Although exceptions are made, all travelers are obliged to entry requirements and protocols, including presenting a negative result PCR test taken a maximum of 72 hours before departure, attached to the e-HAC International Indonesia.

Upon arrival, they will be re-tested by a swab test and asked to quarantine for five days.

While the government has arranged quarantine facilities free of charge for Indonesian citizens, foreign nationals must quarantine at their own expense, at a hotel certified by the Health Ministry.

As per foreign government officials, they are able to self-isolate within their official residence.

Following the quarantine, another swab test will be conducted before they are able to freely move within Indonesian territory.

In the case the tests result positive, medical expenses for Indonesian citizens will be covered by the government while foreign nationals will be treated at the hospital at their own expense. (Thebalisun.com 26/01/2021)


Russian influencer deported from Bali for allegedly violating COVID-19 health protocol

A Russian influencer who caused some hubbub in Bali last month for a reckless social media stunt was deported from Indonesia yesterday, after officials deemed that he violated health protocols and the purpose of his stay permit.

The influencer, who immigration officials have identified as Sergei Kosenko, has over 4.9 million followers on Instagram. He was the subject of outrage across the country in December after he filmed himself launching off a dock in Bali on a motorcycle and plunging into the ocean. The stunt prompted the police to launch an investigation, as Indonesians, including Balinese designer and politician Niluh Djelantik, took to social media to call him out.

His deportation yesterday, however, was over a more recent incident. Immigration authorities said that based on his Instagram posts uploaded on Jan. 11, Kosenko was found to have violated Indonesia’s COVID-19 health protocols. The posts showed him and a crowd partying without masks or social distancing.

Under Indonesia’s 2011 Immigration Law, immigration officials are authorized to impose an Administrative Act from Immigration should they deem any foreign national to be conducting dangerous activities, suspected to be endangering safety and public order, or being disrespectful and disobeying the laws. The acts include cancellation of stay permit and deportation, among others.

“[Kosenko] previously went viral because he did a dangerous stunt by plunging into the ocean with his motorbike. However, after we looked into it, Sergey also partied without health protocols during the pandemic,” Head of the Bali office for the Ministry of Law and Human Rights, Jamaruli Manihuruk, said.

“So from Immigration, while the stunt did not violate [any laws], it’s the party that was determined to have violated immigration laws,” he continued.

In addition, Jamaruli said Kosenko may have violated his visitor stay permit by conducting business during his stay in Bali. According to reports, he allegedly acted as the ambassador of a company to invite investors, which also extends to some marketing and promotion activities.

Jamaruli said that the Bali office has deported five foreign nationals from Indonesia this year. There are around 30,000 foreign nationals in Bali and most violations were due to the misuse of their existing permit, such as working while staying in the country with a visitor visa. (Coconuts.co 24/01/2021)


Bali authorities cancel Ogoh-Ogoh parades for this year’s Nyepi

 There will be no Ogoh-Ogoh parade this year to mark the Balinese Day of Silence or Nyepi, religious authorities have announced, along with other limitations declared ahead of celebrations of the holy day due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a circular signed by Bali Governor Wayan Koster, the head of Parisada Hindu Dharma Indonesia (PHDI) in Bali I Gusti Ngurah Sudiana, and the chief of Bali’s traditional village council Ida Panglingsir Agung Putra Sukahet, Nyepi celebrations are still allowed with certain limits imposed, such as the number of participants, location, and duration across several ceremonies that are traditionally synonymous with Nyepi, which falls on March 14 this year.

This also includes limiting ceremonies to only 50 people at the most, prohibiting the lighting of firecrackers, and mandatory strict adherence to COVID-19 health protocols.

In addition, the Ogoh-Ogoh parades, which usually take place on the eve of Nyepi, have been cancelled for this year.

“Religiously speaking, it is not an obligation,” Putra said. “What’s most important is to prioritize public health.”

Ogoh-Ogoh are menacing-looking effigies, which have become a modern tradition in the last few decades among Balinese youths as they compete to create the most magnificent models and parade them on the streets of Bali.

The province recorded its highest daily tally yet, at 494 cases, only last Wednesday. As of yesterday, Bali has reported 23,950 COVID-19 cases. (Coconuts.co 26/01/2021)


Slovak woman was murdered by ex-boyfriend: Bali police

The Indonesian suspect in the alleged murder of a Slovak woman in Sanur, Denpasar is an ex-boyfriend of the victim, police said, who committed the crime because she had ended the relationship.

“The suspect was broken-hearted because the victim broke up with him. He then wanted to get back together, but [she] refused,” Denpasar Police Chief Jansen Avitus Panjaitan told reporters yesterday.

Jansen explained that the suspect, identified as LP, had known the victim, identified by her initials AS, for three years, since the two were working at a resort in Raja Ampat, Papua. They moved to Bali at the beginning of last year, but drifted apart in the time since and finally broke up about a month ago.

“[They ended the relationship] because the suspect was often drunk,” Jansen said, adding that LP proposed getting back together twice but was rejected both times.

On Monday, LP visited AS at her house to apologize, but was told to leave. Angry, LP stabbed AS on her neck with a knife that he brought along with him.

The 29-year-old victim was found lying on her kitchen floor, covered in blood with a stab wound on her neck, when a friend came to visit her. The discovery was then promptly reported to the police, and LP was arrested on Wednesday morning.

LP has been charged with premeditated murder under Indonesia’s criminal code (KUHP) and may face life imprisonment or the death penalty if convicted. (Coconuts.co 24/01/2021)


Foreigners may face deportation for violating health protocols: Bali official

After numerous reported incidents of foreigners in Bali refusing to follow COVID-19 health protocols over the past few months, an official from immigration warned yesterday that visitors may be deported if they continue to violate the rules.

Eko Budianto, who heads the immigration department at the Bali office for the Ministry of Law and Human Rights, said authorities have recorded data of foreigners who have been caught without masks or violating other health protocols in the province.

“So if they continue to violate the rules, it doesn’t rule out the possibility of us acting on the matter by deporting them,” Eko said yesterday, as quoted by Detik. 

Eko explained that under Indonesia’s 2011 Immigration Law, immigration officials are authorized to implement the Administrative Act from Immigration should they deem that any foreign national is conducting dangerous activities, suspected to be endangering safety and public order, or being disrespectful and disobeying the law. These acts include the cancellation of stay permits and deportation, among others.

“When they violate [health protocols] it’s clear that they are violating the law, we can send them home or deport them,” Eko added.

Bali began enforcing a mandatory mask rule in September to curb the spread of the coronavirus, subjecting violators with either a fine of IDR100,000 (US$7.11) or social sanctions if they are caught without masks in public.

Authorities in Badung regency previously said foreign nationals have made the bulk of mask rule violators in the area.

Between Jan. 11-18 alone, the Public Order Agency (Satpol PP) in Badung caught 74 people for violating health protocols, 71 of whom were foreign nationals.

Governor Wayan Koster previously said that anyone without masks will be denied entry from tourist sites and restaurants, as officials are looking into the possibility of subjecting foreign nationals to higher fines if they are caught without masks. (Coconuts.co Jan 20, 2021)


Indonesia to deport Russian social media star who held party

A Russian social media celebrity was being deported from Indonesia on Sunday (Jan 24) after he held a party at a luxury hotel on the resort island of Bali attended by more than 50 people despite COVID-19 restrictions.

The party held on Jan 11 violated health protocols put in place to fight the spread of the virus, said Jamaruli Manihuruk, chief of the Bali regional office for the Ministry of Law and Human Rights.

Sergey Kosenko, who has more than 4.9 million followers on his Instagram account, arrived in Indonesia in October on a tourist visa.

Immigration officials in Bali decided to examine Kosenko’s activities after he posted to social media a video of him driving a motorcycle with a female passenger on the back off a pier into the sea in December. The stunt was condemned by many Indonesians as reckless and a potentially hazardous to the environment.

Manihuruk said the immigration investigation found Kosenko took part in activities that violated his tourist visa, such as promoting companies and products.

After the announcement of his deportation, Kosenko told reporters at the immigration office in Bali that he was sorry.

“I love Bali. I am sorry and I apologise,” Kosenko said.

The deportation comes just days after Indonesia deported an American woman who had been living on Bali over her viral tweets that celebrated the island as a low-cost, “queer-friendly” place for foreigners to live. Her posts were considered to have “disseminated information disturbing to the public”, which was the basis for her deportation.

Indonesia has temporarily restricted foreigners from coming to the country since Jan 1 to control the spread of COVID-19, and public activities have been restricted on Java and Bali islands.

Bali regional office for the Ministry of Law and Human Rights recorded 162 foreigners have been deported from Bali in 2020 and 2021. Most of them are being deported for violating the visit visa. (channelnewsasia.com 24/01/2021)


US charges Indonesian extremist Hambali over 2002 Bali bombings

US military prosecutors have filed formal charges against an Indonesian extremist and two others in the 2002 Bali bombings and 2003 Jakarta attack, the Pentagon said Thursday. The charges were filed nearly 18 years after the three were captured in Thailand and after each has spent more than 14 years in the US military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The first charged was Indonesian militant Riduan Isamuddin, better known by his nom de guerre Hambali, the leader of the Indonesian jihadist group Jemaah Islamiyah and believed to have been Al-Qaeda’s top representative in the region.

The group, with support from Al-Qaeda, carried out bombings of tourist nightclubs on Bali on October 12, 2002 that killed 202, and the August 5, 2003 attack on the JW Marriott hotel in Jakarta that left 12 dead and scores injured.

The other two charged, Malaysian nationals Mohammed Nazir bin Lep and Mohammed Farik bin Amin, were top Hambali aides in Jemaah Islamiyah who had undergone training by Al-Qaeda, according to Guantanamo case documents.

“The charges include conspiracy, murder, attempted murder, intentionally causing serious bodily injury, terrorism, attacking civilians, attacking civilian objects, destruction of property, and accessory after the fact, all in violation of the law of war,” the Pentagon said in a statement.

It was not clear why after years of delay that the charges before Guantanamo’s military tribunal were announced Thursday. In 2016 Hambali’s bid to be released from Guantanamo was rejected because, prosecutors said, he still represented a “significant threat to the security of the United States”.

The charges were announced on the first full day of the administration of President Joe Biden. When Biden was Barack Obama’s vice president, they sought but failed to close the navy-run prison in Guantanamo and have remaining prisoners either released or tried in US civilian courts.

Little progress was made on the status of the 40 detainees remaining there. At its peak around 780 “war on terror” detainees were held at the camp. Most have been released back to their countries. (channelnewsasia.com 24/01/2021)


Bali police say more foreigners than locals are violating health protocols

The Badung Police and COVID-19 Task Handling Force has been strictly monitoring Badung District during the partial lockdown implemented on January 11.

Authorities found that more foreigners, in comparison to locals, violated health protocols such as wearing masks.

Since the start of the partial lockdown, Badung Public Civil Service have been regularly conducting operations on the streets to verify that people were following the rules.

According to data collected from January 11 to 26, 136 foreigners and 16 locals were caught without masks in public places.

They were fined for failure to comply with provincial law, or given the alternative to conduct on-spot testing to avoid the fines.

The head of Badung Police, I Gusti Agung Ketut Suryanegara, said many foreigners were uncooperative when confronted by officers.

“Most of the time we had to argue with foreigners as they refused to pay the fines,” Suryanegara said.

Authorities gave the option of an on-site rapid antigen test should they choose to avoid the fines.

Local businesses, such as minimarkets, food stalls and gas stations were also monitored. According to Suryanegara, 79 businesses were found violating protocols while operating.

Some areas in Bali, including Denpasar, are still labeled as Red Zones. Active COVID-19 cases have not yet decreased, regardless of the partial lockdown in place.

Authorities await the decision of the provincial government on whether the lockdown will be extended once again.

Meanwhile, Suryanegara urged the people to follow instructions from the government to reduce virus transmission in Bali.

He hopes that the public will comply with rules so that small businesses can resume operations. (Thebalisun.com 26/01/2021)