Suspected human trafficker from Bali arrested for attempting to smuggle 26 Indonesians to Australia
The East Nusa Tenggara Police arrested a 42-year-old man identified by his initial S, who is originally from Medan but resides in Denpasar, on suspicion of having attempted to traffic dozens of Indonesians to Australia via East Nusa Tenggara’s waters. A total of 26 victims were rescued and are currently under the authorities’ supervision.
The director of the East Nusa Tenggara Police’s water and air police unit (Polairud), Sr. Comr. Nyoman Budiarja, said the victims include one person from North Sumatra, one from West Java, four from Central Java, nine from East Java, seven from Bali, and four from West Nusa Tenggara.
“The 26 [victims] consist of one woman and 25 men,” Nyoman said at a press conference yesterday.
He explained that an unnamed fisherman tipped them off about possible people smuggling activities at the Tenai port in Kupang on April 11 around 8:10pm. According to Nyoman, the police busted the human trafficking activities that same evening at 11:35pm.
S, the suspect, admitted that he was the one who recruited the victims and promised them jobs at a plantation in Australia via Facebook. Each victim paid S various amounts of money — between IDR 60 million (US$ 4,180) and IDR 90 million (US$ 6,270) — in order to secure their spots. They were told that they would make IDR 30 million a month (US$ 2,090).
One victim, MK, said that S only asked him for his passport as a travel requirement. MK admitted that he had already transferred IDR 85 million (US$ 5,925) to S.
“I felt duped,” said MK.
Under Indonesian Law, S could face a minimum prison sentence of 5 years and a maximum of IDR 1.5 billion (US$ 104,536) in fines if found guilty.(balisuns.com 19/04)
Bali officials deny reports regarding plan to increase visa on arrival fees
Following reports from several local outlets about the Indonesian government’s plan to increase the price of visas on arrival (VOA) threefold, two officials (including Bali Governor Wayan Koster) separately told reporters that the news is not true.
As previously reported by several local news outlets, the chairman of Indonesia’s Tourism Industry Collective (GIPI), Ida Bagus Agung Partha Adnyana, expressed his concerns about a plan to increase VOA fee in a panel discussion in Nusa Dua last week.
When he was contacted to provide further details about the issue, Partha Adnyana said that he had received what appeared to be an official memo citing a discussion to increase the VOA fee to IDR 1.5 million (around US$ 105).
Currently, one needs to pay IDR 500,000 (about US$35) to get a VOA.
“I just received a note but if it [is true], we object,” Partha Adnyana said, while adding that the association was “confused” as the note looked “official”.
After the news broke last week, the head of the Bali office of the Ministry of Law and Human Rights, Jamaruli Manihuruk, said over the weekend that there has been no changes to the VOA fee.
“[VOA fee] remains at IDR 500,000 (about US$35),” Jamaruli said, calling news about the plan to increase the VOA fee was “misinformed” and labeling it a “hoax.”
Separately, Bali Governor Wayan Koster said that he has been in touch with officials of the Ministry of Law and Human Rights and also received confirmation that the news was “a hoax.” (balisuns.com 19/04)
Bali Government Allots USD $1.9 Million For Sanur Beach Restoration
The Denpasar city government has prepared over USD $1.9 million (IDR 28 billion) for the restoration of Sanur Beach, to be completed before the G-20 Conference this October.
The Vice Mayor of Denpasar, I Kadek Agus Arya Wibawa, confirmed that the restoration of Sanur Beach would occur in preparation for the G-20 Conference.
“Over USD $1.9 million was prepared for the second phase of the Sanur Beach restoration project. This is part of our efforts to optimize its potential in the tourism sector,” Wibawa said during his inspection in Sanur on Friday (15/4).
This project will restore over 5.8 km of the Sanur coastline and create a proper pedestrian side lane, a cyclist side lane, and better restrooms.
“We will create a better environment so that Sanur can compete with other tourist attractions in the island, especially in light of the delegations of the G-20 Conference who are scheduled to attend the forum on October,” Wibawa added.
Wibawa also proposed that all the hotel owners along the beach area install two CCTV cameras that will be connected with the Command Center of the Denpasar city government.
The project is scheduled to start by May, and it will take 6 months to finish. Meanwhile, the Head of Denpasar Social Office, I Gusti Ayu Laxmy Saraswaty, asked the government to organize better layouts for shops in the area to support the local businesses. (balisuns.com 19/04)
Over 1 Million Bali Residents Have Received Their Booster Shot
An official from the Health Office has confirmed that over 1 million Bali residents have received the Covid-19 vaccine booster.
The Head of Bali Health Office, Dr. I Nyoman Gede Anom, confirmed that 1/4 of all Bali residents have received the booster shot as of April.
He also stated that the Covid-19 booster vaccination program has been optimized as the G-20 Conference is scheduled to be held in Bali this year. Dozens of international delegations are expected to attend the forum in Nusa Dua.
“Our target is to distribute the Covid-19 vaccine booster to 75 percent of Bali residents before we host G-20 Conference in November this year,” Dr. Anom said on Wednesday (13/4).
Officials have extended the vaccination sites’ operating hours in the hopes of providing booster shots to residents who plan to travel back to their hometowns during the upcoming Eid Al-Fitr holiday season.
Anom has set up temporary vaccination sites near several mosques in Denpasar and Badung.
“Following the current vaccine booster program, we expect to distribute the vaccine to 3,000-7,000 people daily before the end of this month,” Dr. Anom concluded.
Authority monitors Bali waters to prevent immigration violation
The Law and Human Rights Ministry’s regional office in Bali conducted a monitoring activity in Bali waters, with focus on the waters around the Port of Benoa, to monitor possible violations conducted by foreign nationals.
“Before patrolling the region, we found no immigration violations committed by foreigners while we were inspecting boats (in the area),” the ministry’s regional office head, Jamaruli Manihuruk, noted in his statement received here on Monday.
The office head remarked that he and the officers of Denpasar Immigration Office had conducted an inspection of boats sailing on Serangan Island, Denpasar City.
Apart from inspecting boats in Serangan Island, the patrol also targets activities of foreign nationals at Bali Marina in Benoa, he added.
Despite the officers finding some foreigners boarding the inspected boats, none of them were found to have violated immigration regulations as foreigners carried immigration documents as required by the Indonesian law, he noted.
Through the patrol activities, the immigration authority will continue to monitor the activities of foreign nationals in Indonesia, Manihuruk remarked while adding that the authority will educate and provide guides for foreigners to restrict their activities only to those corresponding to their entry and stay permits.
Foreign nationals found during the inspection also demonstrated that Bali’s tourism industry has begun to recover, he added.
The Law and Human Rights Ministry’s regional office head urged tourism actors in Bali to cooperate in maintaining the reputation of Bali’s tourism industry to attract more foreigners to visit Bali Island and spend their holidays there.
Foreign tourists’ visits to Bali will also positively impact the local economy, Manihuruk stated. (antaranews.com 19/04)
Thai Air Asia Lands In Bali For The First Time Since 2020
Thai Air Asia has landed a flight at the international terminal of Bali Ngurah Rai Airport for the first time since the pandemic struck in 2020.
The President of Angkasa Pura I for Bali Airport, Faik Fahmi, confirmed that Thai Air Asia has resumed its international flights with Bali Ngurah Rai Airport on Tuesday morning (12/4).
“For the first time since 2020, Thai Air Asia landed a flight in Bali Airport. This occurred on Tuesday at 11:53 am, transporting 128 passengers from Don Mueang Airport in Bangkok,” Faik said.
Faik explained that Thailand has become the third South East Asian country to resume its international route with Bali after Singapore and Malaysia.
“The airplane departed and flew back to Bangkok on the same day at 12:56 pm with 29 passengers on board. According to the schedule, the airline will be operating the Bali-Bangkok route every Tuesday and Saturday,” Faik added.
Since the government reopened the international terminal of Bali Ngurah Rai Airport on February 3rd 2022, the airport has received a total of 64,361 passengers through 513 arriving and departing flights.
“Per our data, several other airlines are about to resume their international routes with Bali this weekend,” Faik concluded. (balisuns.com 15/04)