Fugly Bali
Comparing the mafia with the Balinese police.
Why Bali's police are the main reason Bali has become so fugly!
If you speak to a police officer, your wallet will become lighter!!

Want to report police corruption, extortion or abuse you have witnessed or are aware of in Bali? Then please visit our Bali Police Information bulletin board and tell the world.

Bali's Police ChiefWithout a doubt, the police and other government officials in Bali are the root cause for most if not all of the problems on the island. Historically, the only reason someone becomes a police officer in Indonesia, is to make extortion money. Because they are there simply to make money like the mafia, they both add to and basically ignore the crime in Bali. There is an old Indonesian saying, "Lose a chicken, report it to the police and lose a cow". Which is why, part of the problem is that people simply do not report crimes or suspicious activities to the police. The police of course have a pedigree, they come from the Suharto era when they helped the ruthless dictator's regime's murder thousands of Balinese and Indonesians. Then, as now, they clearly enjoy their jobs, as they like to grin.

But they are not smiling about their wages, oh no. You may be shocked to know that a typical police officer earns 2 million rupiah per month salary (around US$235). Not much, although a lot more than the average hotel worker's wage of just $35 per month. But amazingly, they each pay at least 20 million rupiah to be able to join the "service" in the first place. Why? Because they can expect to at least quadruple their salary through extortion. From stopping foreign motorists for spurious traffic offences (locals driving minibuses with tourists are simply told "Business must be good!" and then told what gratuity they must pay the police on that day), to finding anything they can investigate an individual for (no matter how ludicrous the reason) in order to extort money from them, to taking bribes from people to make trouble for others. The Balinese police are probably the most prolific criminals on the island of Bali, a fact well documented.

In more specific terms, this means guests visiting Bali are placed at considerable risk. Mostly because the police foster crime and are, outside of making money, generally just plain lazy. This equates to;

1) Terrorism Risk Elevated.
From police officers on anti-terrorism duty at the ferry ports who wave coaches past without inspection in return for 20,000 rupiah from the coach driver, to detectives who spend their time trying to extort money from foreigners living in Bali rather than pursuing leads on terrorists. It clearly paints a worrying picture and creates many opportunities for a growing number of militants.

2) Health Risk Elevated.
Illegal dumping of refuse, including human effluence has been a problem for many years on Bali. Because the illegal tippers as they are called are doing it to save money, it is generally true that they have very little of it. Because they have very little money, the police are clearly not so interested as there is little to extort. Never mind the health consequences.

3) Crime Risk Elevated.
It is a sad fact that often police work with criminals to extort money from foreigners. Such as with drug dealers who sell some drugs to someone (or plant some on someone they do not like), then finger them to their police contact. Besides that, the police set a very bad example to others, who then feel it is acceptable to take money from others by unfair means (such as the many cheating money changers who short change customers).

4) Serious Crime Increasing.
Partly because police officers may well be involved with gangs, partly because the police are generally only interested in making extortion money (not actually doing real police work). Gambling and general theft gangs are known to attack and even kidnap victims, mostly foreigners again. Also, as the police delegate "police duties" to village "pecalangan" (vigilantes), who are renowned for brutal methods, trying victims themselves in kangaroo court style, and even executing (murdering) suspects on the spot. OK, most of this is dished out to other Indonesians, but no-one is safe because they are literally a law unto themselves. Also be aware that it is possible to pay around 2 million rupiah to have a local killed in bali, 10 million to have a foreigner killed. Also be aware the contracted killer will think nothing of disclosing the identity of the person hiring them to the police in order to extort money out of them.

5) Crimes against children.
Spare a thought for the children of Indonesia who fall prey to a large and increasing number of pedophiles, who are never caught or pay off the police. Also spare a thought for the 11 and 12 year girls and boys that are married off, and then forced into prostitution on the streets of Bali. Whose only contact with the police is to pay them money.

6) Other government officials.
From building permit officers who take bribes from hoteliers in return for permission to build where they should not (e.g. too close to a temple). From customs officials who are geared up to find drugs on tourists arriving at international airports (please, the drugs come in via the ferry ports, carried by Indonesians on buses that get waived through for 20,000 rp) and to check they have not exceeded their duty free allowance (watch them when they find someone with an extra bottle of wine, tell them the duty is 400% when it is really only 92%). Every government officer in Bali, including those at the very top (the Governor of Bali, Ida Bagus Oka, has links with the Suharto family, of course), is likely to be extremely corrupt. Which means things like health and safety regulations are flaunted.

Plus, of course, there is the very real risk the police will try to extort money from you!

We believe it is time for the entire police force in Bali to be investigated. It would not be that difficult. How much do they get salary? How much do they have in their bank accounts? How much are their visible outgoings (university fees for their children, etc.). What car do they drive? What is the value of their house? Does the math add up? No? Then work it out!

Actually some police officers in Indonesia openly admit corruption is a problem and suggest their officers grow vegetables to supplement their income! But of course, the Balinese police have their good old money trees, the foreigners to harvest. Why would they want to get their hands dirty?

What to do about police corruption if you become a victim of it.

Report it - carefully.

First, do not let the police officer involved in extorting moeny from you or your companions know you are taking their details. If you make trouble or if they realize you intend to make trouble for them, they will likely make trouble for you. Trouble for you generally will mean a visit to the court. So, as carefully as you can, make a note of the policeman' s name, etc., plus details of the time and location.

Once you have these safely written down and when you get home from Bali, you can do 3 things;

1) Use the notice board here to publish what happened, as this is most likely to get some Balinese police attention to the problem (we will attempt to make sure they are aware of each complaint). Publish details that will allow the Balinese Police to identify the officer (his name, date, time, location), and detail what the alleged offence was, whether and why it was false, and how much money you had to pay the officer to be let go. When you make a report here, you may use just your first name if you prefer, and your email address will not appear on the complaint.

2) Write a letter of complaint to your country's foreign office and / or your local politician, giving them the same details. If enough people do this, your government will have to do something. Even if it is to warn people about police corruption in their travel advisories. They do not like doing this as shaming foreign government officials basically will cost them / the country money. But if enough people around the world do it, no one country will lose trade and the Indonesians will be forced to doing something sooner, rather than later.

3) Write a letter of complaint to the Chief of Police in Bali. Do not use your full name and address if you feel uncomfortable about it however, just a first name and town. If you just give these, tell the police chief you are not providing your full name and address as you know how corrupt and malicious they can be, and that the information you can give is enough for them to act. That is enough for them. The police chief's address is; Chief of Police, Kapolda Bali, Jl W.R. Supratman No. 7, Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia. Of course, he is not likely to do anything, as he is likely to be even more corrupt then his own subordinates. But it will have an effect and be worth the effort / stamp. You never know, one day Bali might get a real police chief.

When you are vulnerable to police extortion?

Motoring offences are the most common occurrence a foreigner will experience of police extortion. You will probably be asked for "some money for a friend". An alleged motoring offence will cost you 50,000 rupiah upwards if you are driving a car, 10,000 if you are driving a motor bike (as you will be perceived to have less money). If you do not pay it, you will go to court and likely pay more. Yes, we know, the alleged motoring offence is often false (although the same system of extortion applies to real motoring offences as well). At road blocks, even if your papers are in order, you will be told "Your papers are not in order". If you take the time to show them each paper and say "Look, here is my driving license. Here is my car rental contract with hire car tax paid. Here is my insurance note. My documents are in order." If you repeat this 2 or 3 times, the chances are you will then be "let off" and simply asked for a donation! To which you can say "No thank you" and drive away.

At the more serious end, being caught with narcotics (which can carry the death penalty) will cost someone around US$35,000 if they are resident in Bali) or US$10,000 if they are a tourist. We have recorded reports of these amounts. And would like to say "A big shame on the police officer who extorted US$35,000 from James Gavin for possession of marijuana". A drug he used in part as a pain killer / to bring himself relief - he died a few days after being released from 5 nights in jail, which was used to extort the US$35,000 from him. In our book, the police officers involved are murderers. But they will probably never be tried.

Speaking of murder, it is speculated / reported unofficially that being let off a murder will cost someone around US$50,000 to US$100,000 for killing a local of little standing, US$500,000 for killing a foreigner or local of some standing. Of course, getting precise details of this is not easy (and it will depend on a person's nationality and perceived wealth). As anyone admitting to it, even from overseas, would almost certainly then face trial. It is even suggested that foreign embassies may assist in such matters rather then allow one of their citizens to bring adverse publicity to their country and / or face the gallows.

Bali Hell! Left is a picture of the main bomber involved in the terrorist bombing on Bali in October 2002. The people you see with him here are not his colleagues from JI AKA Jemaah Islamiah (terrorist organization linked to Osama Bin Laden's Al-Qaeda & responsible for the Bali bombing). No, these are Indonesian police officers sharing a smile with Amrozi for the press after he was arrested. If you want a reminder of what Amrozi did, please click Bali Bombing. Now ask, why they are smiling.

Please do not become a victim or part of the problem. Read:
Bali Tourism (Should I go, where, and how do I avoid adding to the problem / putting myself / my family at risk in Bali?).

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Please also visit the anti-corruption & fraud website Bali BS

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