Tourists, digital nomads, and expats in Bali have received a warning from the Indonesia Minster for Tourism and Creative Economies.
During the Weekly Briefing with Sandi Uno, the Minster responded to viral videos of foreigners lashing out in Bali.
The discussion around badly behaved foreigners in Bali is sadly never far from the headlines nor the top of the social media news feeds.
In the last week, yet more footage has appeared online of foreigners being violent in Bali; one video in particular is very disturbing.
The footage shows a foreigner, believed to be American, assaulting a driver in a seemingly unprovoked attack.
According to local reporters, the driver pulled into the driveway of a villa, parked the car, and the tourists got out.
He approached the foreigner and asked about the motorcycle he had rented to him. The foreigner immediately lashes out and punches the driver in the face.
It has been confirmed that the blow knocked the local man’s teeth out, requiring hospital treatment. The CCTV footage shows a foreigner and his partner can be seen fleeing the scene.
In response to this incident, and others like it, Minster Uno said, “There must be no tolerance if naughty tourists continue to act up. We will act firmly and in accordance with the law because this is a country of laws.”
He confirmed ‘We cannot tolerate it.” Due to incidences such as this, Bali has created a dedicated Tourism Civil Service Police Force.
Training is underway for the specialist unit that will patrol Bali’s busiest resort areas to ensure that tourists behave in a culturally respectful way and do not break the law.
The new Bali Tourism Civil Service Police Unit is similar to that in place in Yogjakarta. Officers will be dressed more informally to help tourists feel more comfortable approaching them. All the officers are good English speakers and have extensive experience in the police force already.
This police unit has been tasked with not only keeping public order but also improving Bali’s public image.
Speaking as the training began, the Acting Governor of Bali, Sang Made Mahendra Jaya, told the recruits, “We want to change the paradigm of the civil service police, no longer as thugs and rioters but as regional representatives of maintaining humane order and security.“
He added, “I ask that the Tourism Police be able to provide a sense of comfort so that tourists do not feel anxious while on holiday in Bali.”
With this in mind, the Acting Governor told the new trainees, “[I want you to] assure tourists that visiting Bali is safe and comfortable, so don’t hesitate to come to Bali.”
The Bali Civil Service Police Unit will work in partnership with the Tourism Task Force, which is made up of other civil service officers, tourism officials, and immigration.
However, given the level of violence that some unruly tourists have been known to display, the new Bali Civil Service Police Unit is also being trained on restraint and handling.
The Head of the Bali Province Civil Service Unit, Nyoman Rai Dharmadi, has designed much of the new training program.
Dharmadi told reporters last week, “For the next ten days, 40 participants for the Badung Regency Saptol PP and 31 members of the Bali Province Satpol PP will receive training, and we will select them to become new members.”
He added, “We will first introduce all the material regarding Satpol PP’s duties and functions; we will discuss how to defend ourselves if we find something related to a disturbance to order at tourist attractions.”
The new Bali Civil Service Tourism Police will be deployed on the 14th of February, 2024, the same day as the Indonesian general election and the introduction of the new tourism tax.
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