Police in Bali are working hard to stop a new trend in its tracks. There has been an alarming rise in the number of foreigners who have been adding custom license plates to their mopeds and motorbikes in Bali. The custom plates are not formally registered with the transportation agency.
After police intervention, the new trend further caught the attention of the public thanks to observational accounts like @moscow_cabang_bali. Police across Bali’s tourism hotspots are now on the lookout for more offenders.
The first foreigners to be pulled over by traffic police were visiting Nusa Lembongan. Offices from the Klungkung Police Traffic Unit in Nusa Lembongan arrested four foreigners on a number of serious violations. Of the four individuals, three had custom plates showing a phone number and text, and the fourth had a name branded on the plate. All four were arrested based on the fact that none of them had helmets, a SIM C motorcycle license, nor did they carry their foreign identification documents on them. Police have confirmed that the four individuals arrested in Nusa Lembongan are from Russia.
Speaking shortly after the incident, the Head of Public Relations of the Bali Regional Police, Kombes Pol Stefanus Satake Bayu Setianto, said, “These violators committed gross violations. They do not wear safety helmets, have no driver’s licenses, no personal identity passports [documents], without being equipped with vehicle papers, and use fake license plates. The violators were arrested at the Klungkung Police for questioning.”
As soon as videos started appearing online, both residents and visitors to the island snapped photos and videos of drivers with illegal custom license plates and sent the evidence to the police and citizen journalism social media accounts. There are dozens, with more going viral by the hour. Police in Bali have announced that they are increasing the surveillance of the issue around all the major traffic spots in all of Bali’s major tourism hotspots. This included Canggu, Seminyak, Legian, Kuta, and Ubud.
Kombes Pol Setianto also confirmed that during the inspection of license plates in Nusa Lembongan, an Australian and a French national were also pulled over due to issues with the number plates. However, it was soon discovered that the issue with the license plate falls under the responsibility of the motorcycle owner, who did not have the correct license registration for the vehicles. Setianto said, “The results of the temporary inspection, the motorcycles used by the [Australian and French] violators are motorcycles from rental services. One of the violators here is a rental service provider.”
Speaking separately, the Klungkung Police Chief, AKBP I Nengah Sadiarta, told reporters, “We take legal action against motor vehicles that TNKB (Motor Vehicle Number Sign) is not in accordance with the [legal] provisions.” He said that there are many authentic-looking license plates that do not match the registration of the vehicles or that the vehicle registration documents are either fake or out of date. Sadiarta confirmed that his teams across Klungkung Regency would be tackling the issue as a priority.
The move to crack down on fake license plates as quickly as possible comes as part of a bigger move by the authorities in Bali to quash illegal behavior by foreigners. Last week officials confirmed that a new task force is being launched to crack down on foreigners working illegally in Bali. One foreigner who was found guilty of operating a photography business that broke his visa conditions has already been deported.
Social media is playing a huge role in building public awareness of these kinds of illegal activities, along with increased police presence. Social media account @moscow_cabang_bali continues to gather more and more momentum. As does social justice activist and Balinese entrepreneur Ni Luh Dejlanktik who is using her platform for the good of local communities.
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