November 26 2014

November 26, 2014

Suspicious Package Causes Bomb Scare at Bali Airport

Customs & Excise at Bali’s Nugrah Rai International Airport received a suspicious package on Thursday (13/11) related to a bomb threat. The package was reportedly sent through the Renon, Denpasar post office then handed over to the customs office at the airport. A number of foreign tourists were among those that dashed out of the building following an alleged phone call threatening to blow up the customs office. The parcel was received around 3pm and members of the Bali police bomb squad were the scene by 3:30pm according to Merdeka news. Commissioner Sebudi said the package was 10.88 grams and plastic wrapped, containing a white crystalline substance, along with SAUIN brand speakers that were believed to contain hidden explosives. The package was allegedly sent from Zhongxing Road, Xiantai City, Hebei, China. Bali police are still investigating the contents of the package that was taken to the headquarters of the Bali bomb squad. (November 14th 2014)

Black Market Manta Ray Bust in Bali

In the largest confiscation in Indonesia to date, authorities seized 103kg of manta gills in Bali, and arrested one suspect. The dried gill plates were harvested from as many as 85 individuals and are worth about 175 million rupiah ($14,300) on the local market. The parts sell for $250-$500 per kilogram in Chinese markets, and are believed by some followers of Traditional Chinese Medicine to have healing powers – although they have not historically been used in the practice. The bust took place after locals tipped off authorities about the operation in Pengambengan on the island of Bali. An investigation by the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries led law enforcement officers to the home of Shr, a 60-year-old man who was arrested in connection with the operation. The gills were likely harvested from Reef (Manta alfredi) and oceanic (Manta birostris) mantas, both of which are IUCN has listed as vulnerable species. Earlier this year, Indonesia pledged to protect the two species, effectively creating the largest manta sanctuary on the planet. Trafficking of the animals or their body parts in Indonesia now carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison, and a $10,000 fine. Some consider the value of manta rays to the country in terms of tourism far outweighs their price on the black market. A single ray can contribute up to $8 million to the tourism economy over its potentially 40-year life span. This bust follows on the heels of last month’s confiscation of 19kg of manta during the arrest of one of the four largest manta dealers in Surabaya, and a recent arrest of online dealers of tiger parts. Environmental groups have been encouraged by these recent achievements, and hope they signal that Indonesia is serious about curbing the rampant trade of illegal wildlife within and across its borders. (November 14th 2014)

Visa On Arrival Fee Could be Scrapped

A Bali holiday may become even cheaper for Australians, with Indonesia considering lifting its visa on arrival fee. The $US35 fee ($AUD41) could be scrapped for citizens of Australia, China, Japan, South Korea and Russia from next year, Tourism Minister Arief Yahya says. “Those countries are our main foreign tourist targets,” he told reporters on Wednesday (5/11), as reported by Indonesian news website “Like China, its middle-class is huge and that has potential for us.” The free short-term visas for Indonesia’s five main tourist markets was one idea to come out of a ministerial meeting on Wednesday. The other was simplifying marine licenses to encourage more yachts and cruise ships to stop over in Indonesia. (November 6th 2014)

Jokowi Must clear up Bali Nine Fate: MP

An Indonesian MP wants President Joko Widodo to immediately clarify the fate of Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, who remain on death row in Bali. Sukumaran on Saturday (15/11) received a visit in Bali’s Kerobokan jail from politicians considering the future of the country’s death penalty. The visit came as Mr. Joko was in Australia for the G20 summit, where he had informal talks with Prime Minister Tony Abbott. Sukumaran and Chan were members of the Bali Nine, the young Australians arrested over a failed heroin smuggling plot. The pair’s appeal for clemency was before former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono for more than two years, but he failed to grant it before leaving office in October. It’s now up to the new president known as Jokowi to decide. Even with the threat of execution always looming over them, Chan and Sukumaran have been living productively behind bars. Chan helps fellow inmates with religious instruction, while Sukumaran’s prison art studio is a creative outlet for him and many others. One of the MPs to visit him there, Aziz Syamsudin, serves in Indonesia’s parliamentary law commission. He said the visit was prompted by Amnesty International’s calls for Indonesia to follow other countries that are abolishing the death penalty. The politician agreed, saying “we must adjust”. But any change required a “breakthrough” from the president himself, Mr Aziz said, and was likely a long way off. (November 15th 2014)

Suspects in Australian Man’s Death Resist Arrest with Poison Arrows, Machete

Two men arrested over the slaying of Australian businessman Robert Ellis in Bali tried to halt officers using a machete and poison arrows. Police tracked down two 24-year-old men, known by initials UR and DN and were attempting to arrest them when attacked. Police spokesman Hery Wiyanto said police shot them both in the legs as they gave resistance. Robert Kevin Ellis, 60, was found dead on October 21, his body bundled in plastic and dumped in a watery ditch by a Bali rice field. At the time, Badung police chief Komang Suartana told 9NEWS his wife Noor Ellis was at home in their Bali villa when the killer she allegedly hired, slashed her husband’s throat in their kitchen. Mr. Komang said the slaying was allegedly a joint effort between Ellis’ wife, two maids and one of their boyfriends. It is understood money was a motive in the killing, but friends of Mrs. Ellis later said she was independently wealthy. Police spokesman Hery said today’s suspects were arrested on Sumba Island at 5am (local time) today. Police are still searching for another two suspects with initials MT and EJ. (November 5th 2014)

Bali the Next Location for Jamie’s Italian

Jamie Oliver is set to launch his Jamie’s Italian restaurant brand in yet another country, with a restaurant in Bali, Indonesia on the cards. The Jamie’s Italian group has partnered will Hotel Properties Limited (HPL) on the project, and building applications have already been submitted to the relevant authorities. If all goes to plan, the restaurant will occupy a site adjacent to the Hard Rock Hotel Bali in the tourist hub of Kuta, and it will open for business at some stage next year. “I’m really excited at the prospect of bringing Jamie’s Italian to Kuta Beach in Bali. We’re thrilled to be working with HPL again, who are absolutely fantastic partners,” said Oliver. The Kuta Beach menu will mirror that of the existing Jamie’s Italian restaurants, which operate in more than 40 locations across the world. Diners can expect a menu comprising authentic Italian dishes – pastas are made fresh onsite each morning and there’s even an antipasti station. There is a focus on utilizing the fresh, sustainable ingredients of each region in which the restaurants operate, and the Kuta site will be no different – work has already begun to identify the area’s best local producers and suppliers. (November 14th 2014)

Indonesia Prepares to Welcome Millionth Aussie Tourist for the Year

Indonesia is set to overtake New Zealand as Australia’s favorite overseas destination, with more than a million tourists scheduled to visit the country by the end of the year. Ten years ago, New Zealand attracted almost three times the number of Australians to its shores than Indonesia. But, with Bali as its major draw card, Indonesia now appears certain to reach the one million milestone for the first time in a calendar year – and topple New Zealand as Australia’s No.1 outbound destination as early as next year. News of the major tourism growth has coincided with confirmation, from the Indonesian Government, that it will scrap its US$35 visa entry fee for Australian nationals from January 1 next year. Oni Yulifan, from Indonesia’s Ministry of Tourism, said when he joined the ministry in 1994, he would have considered it “impossible” that a million Australians could ever visit his nation in a single year. “There was limited vision and infrastructure then. Today, that has all changed,” he told The Sun-Herald. “Our uniqueness and culture are major attractions. There is also greater accessibility and value for money than ever before.” (November 9th 2014)

Bali Deports Four Foreigners for Violating Stay Permit

The Immigration Office of Bali province will deport four foreigners for violating their visa permits, Chief of Supervisory Unit at Balis Immigration Office Mohamad Soleh said here on Tuesday (18/11). The four foreigners have been identified as Steven Thomas Gibbs (25), Nancy May Evans (23), Nicholas William Thomas Jones (22), all British nationals, and Marina Naloni Bozlee (17) from the United States. Soleh stated the immigration police arrested the foreigners during a routine raid at the Seminyak area, Bali province. The four were caught working at a store in Oberoi Street. “They misused their stay permit. They came to Indonesia through the visa-on-arrival facility that does not offer work permits to visitors,” noted Soleh. He added that as of November 2014 a total of 114 foreigners have been deported from Bali. While 70 percent of the foreigners deported were Australians, the remaining were from the United States, Russia, England, France, Singapore, China, New Zealand, Venezuela, Malaysia, Japan, Taiwan, Greece, and Kazakhstan. (November 18th 2014)