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Bali Immigration Officials Reveal Results Of Alleged Extortion Investigation

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Immigration officials in Bali have released formal statements regarded alleged extortion by three border control officers.

An Australian tourist has told the media that she was forced to pay USD 1000 upon arrival in Bali on account of superficial damage to her passport. 

Passport At Airport Immigration.jpg

The story has been doing the rounds on social media for a couple of days, but now the Department of Immigration in Bali have revealed their side of the story.

Australian tourist Monique Sutherland was traveling to Bali with her mother.

Upon checking into their flight in Melbourne, Sutherland was asked to sign a blue form which she was told by representatives from Batik Air must be presented to immigration officials in Bali. 

Sutherland and her mother boarded their flight to Bali without a hitch. Sutherland had even received a stamp and sticker on her passport for her visa on arrival when the immigration officer started asking questions. 

In a media interview, Sutherland said that officials “asked if I was alone and if I were a regular traveler (which I’m not) … and then I was taken into a small interrogation room.”

Sutherland describes the ordeal as terrifying, sharing that she was “hysterical and petrified” throughout the hour-long questioning session. 

Sutherland revealed that she was instructed to pay a USD 1000 fee for officials to “sort out the issue” with her damaged passport.

She revealed, “However, my passport was actually accepted and already stamped for visa entry, and it wasn’t till I handed them the blue form that I was picked on.”

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Sutherland says that when she refused to pay the ‘fee,’ immigration officials then approached her mother, who was convinced to hand over funds.

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs has said that ‘normal wear and tear’ on a passport should not be an issue for tourists but that tangible damage such as rips, water damage, stains, or marks, especially on the identity page, could cause travel issues.

In light of Sutherland’s account of her and her mother’s ordeal at Bali Airport and the increasing public interest, the Head of the Bali Regional Office for the Ministry of Law and Human Rights, Anggiat Napitupulu, and his teams have investigated the issue. 

Speaking at a press conference in Denpasar, Napitupulu shared that an investigation found no violations on the part of the immigration offices at I Gusti Ngurah Rai International. 

He told reporters, “Three of our officers have checked there. We have found no violations according to the foreign media reports.”

He continued, “From the statements of the three officers who were examined, there were no sanctions against the foreign tourists in question, and there were no fees related to the condition of the passport in question because it was damaged.”

Traveler-Hands-Passport-Over-At-Immigration-Border-Control

Napitupulu said, “Our officers examined the foreigner because the passport was suspected of being touched by perfume, so it was damaged. Yes, of course, it is in accordance with the [standard operating procedures]; we will examine it and notify the person concerned,” 

Immigration-Counter-At-Bali-Airport

When asked about why Sutherland was taken to the interview room rather than being held at the immigration counter in the arrivals hall, Napitupulu said, “That room is the immigration office at the airport.”

“So, we are not allowed to interrogate foreigners at the counter, and it has become [standard operating procedure] at every airport. Regarding being threatened with deportation, it only tells the consequences.”

“Because if the problem of getting people out is due to negligence, airlines can also be subject to sanctions.”

Woman-in-Airport-Arrivals-Immigration

Napitupulu said that the case had tarnished and damaged the good name of Immigration in Bali.

In light of this, Napitupulu has suggested that he and his teams will continue to keep a close eye on CCTV footage throughout the airport to ensure that no false claims can be made against immigration and that immigration teams continue to conduct their work in alignment with the department’s standard operating procedures.  

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Exp

Sunday 16th of July 2023

Bali immigration need to immediatly stop harassing visitors.

The assessment of passport damage is very subjective. As long as all essential data is readable, then issue a warning so that foreigner can replace passport after completed trip.

Firechef

Saturday 15th of July 2023

Extorders investigating extorders, that should be interesting, lmfao!

J West

Friday 14th of July 2023

Perfumed daughters passport? Then why was the mother extorted for $1000 ? This stinks , and I can only think the case is being swept into a closet by an embarrassed constabulary. Shame on them. Here’s one idea. Pay the crooked cops with American Express travelers checks and then cancel them as stolen. This has worked for me in the past.

J West

Sunday 16th of July 2023

@Firechef, Amex was happy , no questions asked, to cancel and refund stolen/extorted cheques in my experience. I paid a Mexican police chief $600 in TC after I was arrested for being mugged. I know, sounds bizarre, but actually happened. So, I quickly exited Mexico same day and reported the event, honestly, word for word, and the AM EX operator said “ No problem…where would you like the money sent”. They cancelled the cheques, I got my money back, and six months later I read that the crooked “Jefe” had been shot down like a dog in the street, likely payback from another unhappy customer. Next best thing to instant karma, IMHO.

Firechef

Saturday 15th of July 2023

@J West, Great idea!

Firechef

Friday 14th of July 2023

Shaking my head! Another case of corruption which I'm totally familiar with. Why does anyone even want to come to Bali? Must be a glutton for punishment!

petter gleeson

Thursday 13th of July 2023

you really expect us to believe this rubbish