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Sick of Corrupt Bali Police!

Adelaide
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39 posts
25 reviews
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Sick of Corrupt Bali Police!

I just have to get this off my chest...we have been in Bali for the past 2 weeks and in that time have been stopped by the police 6 times. We have an International Drivers License (including motorcycle license) are wearing helmuts etc. They find the most ridiculous things to pull us over for and then comes the "you can pay the fine now or go to court" line...my husband has held his ground every time but I must say we are a bit over it...we love Bali, such a shame about the corruption!

Brisbane, Australia
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12,336 posts
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1. Re: Sick of Corrupt Bali Police!

Just keep standing your ground with them.

There is a program underway for the last few months with big banners informing tourists that they just should not pay the bribe and even if they give you a ticket it's a simple matter of going to the Denpasar Court House or any Police station to pay the legitimate fine. There is no court appearance neccessary at all.

Strangely enough though all the banners I saw were tied perfectly so the Bahasa side was readable, but the other side of each banner was tied so loosely you couldn't read the english translation??????????

The more word gets out that paying the bribe isn't the way to go and the lie about having to appear in court if you don't pay, is just that, a lie, the more chance there will be of this practice being quashed.

Unfortunately, the corruption goes all the way up the chain and if the lowly traffic cop doesn't bring in enough in "fines" to pay off his next in command he is put on a desk job and the traffic job is given to someone who will bring in enough to pay his bosses. Considering that the whole system is flawed and to be able to be a cop, you have to pay 10s of millions to the system (many families save up so one of the children can join the police force) it's no wonder these guys are so reluctant to abide by the rules.

At this stage it's up the tourist to be educated enough about it, to do just as you have been doing and stand their ground.

Sydney
Destination Expert
for Seminyak, Bali, Canggu, Kerobokan
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8,501 posts
300 reviews
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2. Re: Sick of Corrupt Bali Police!

I have been driving (a car) for about 3 years now in Baii and have never been pulled over by the traffic police. I do have the phone number for the Tourist Police programmed into my phone if I ever have a problem like that - I believe it is a deterrent to them insisting on paying a fine. By the way, does your husband wear a shirt at least when he is riding? They can book you if he doesn't. :)

Cheers

Edited: 16 July 2011, 20:05
Australia
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11 posts
21 reviews
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3. Re: Sick of Corrupt Bali Police!

Who are the Tourist Police? What can the police fine you for? Surely if you abide by their rules there isn't anything they can fine you for? We are planning a trip to Bali but are put off hiring a car because of this issue and the reported bad conditions of the roads. I have an old school friend in Bali who says driving around the island is the best way to see everything. It's so confusing!! We always put our safety first when traveling but our independence in important too.

Perth, Australia
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460 posts
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4. Re: Sick of Corrupt Bali Police!

I have been told it costs $5000 US to pay to become a policeman, and thats gets you little or no training.

Also told that the "fines" they ask to be paid, are their way of recouping the $5000.

Not sure if this is correct, but the person who told me is to be very knowledgeable about Bali.

Adelaide
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39 posts
25 reviews
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5. Re: Sick of Corrupt Bali Police!

Hi Ilab...we offered today to go to court and pay the fine (for wearing thongs whilst riding a motorbike??!). Hubby always wears a shirt (we try to always be respectful of Balinese culture in this way) but he does stand out as he has very fair skin...we are a very middle aged couple, quite ordinary? My husband speaks bahasa and this does help. I keep walking away when they start the "shake down" as I get too stressed...I went into a shop today and purchased 2 dresses (despite my husband telling polisi his "woman" had no money!).

Adelaide
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39 posts
25 reviews
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6. Re: Sick of Corrupt Bali Police!

Hi Australia Lizzie

Sorry to put you off...as mentioned above my husband has a full license in Australia including a full motorcycle license and we applied and got an international license before coming over. If we are just scooting around Seminyak we are fine, it is only on the main busy roads we seems to have problems (eg: Jalan Sunset). As mentioned above, we have obeyed all rules and I watch other Westerners who don't...never mind, we have decided if we need to go on main roads will will just get a taxi.

Caloundra, Australia
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2,353 posts
41 reviews
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7. Re: Sick of Corrupt Bali Police!

The Tourist Police number is a group who are supposed to help tourists. I've only called them once, when I needed directions to a Police station (to get my motorbike licence as it happens). They were polite and helped.

Their number is 0361224111

There's also a Police Hotline.. 0811259259

I copied this number off a banner a year or so ago. The slogan was 'When the Police are the Problem'.

Classic! Not called them yet, cos I've not had any problems. (though I'm not too impressed with Tegallalang police's approach to charging my landlord to register me, so it might be on the cards)

I've only been stopped once in nearly three years of riding a motor bike here. That was late at night at a road block where they stopping everyone- there was quite a group of nervous looking young lads by the side of the road not going anywhere. The policeman nearly fell over when I took my helmet off (I was wearing traditional clothes and heavy jacket, so he wouldn't have seen I was a tamu as I approached).

A lot of tourists don't realise how often Balinese also get stopped, for checking their registrations and licences. In fact, I've been waved through such a check a couple of times in the last months... the police probably thinking that it's more likely I will have my papers in order than Wayan behind me!

There's a general tightening of 'guides and tourist drivers' registration happening at the moment too, around Gianyar/Ubud at least.

mudwash
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1,318 posts
21 reviews
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8. Re: Sick of Corrupt Bali Police!

years ago where we used to get a bike we where stopped all the time is was really annoying. Once we where stopped because hubby was over a line just it was the only time he didnt have his licence on him he always gets an international licence but we had left it back at the hotel as we where going to the beach he was told he would have to go to court or pay a fine so we went to pay the fine hubby handed it to the police man he told him to put it on th table hubby asked for a reciet he was told no reciept. we where later told that if he had taken the fine from hubby then it was a bribe but putting it on the table it was a gift dont know if this is true or not. we are going to Lombok in october and plan on getting a motor bike there hopefully it wont be as bad over there.

Sydney, Australia
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1,278 posts
14 reviews
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9. Re: Sick of Corrupt Bali Police!

This is no excuse but my Balinese driver tells me that the Police are not very well paid and have to give kickbacks to their superiors from 'coffee money.'

Kate

Edited: 17 July 2011, 09:30
Caloundra, Australia
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2,353 posts
41 reviews
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10. Re: Sick of Corrupt Bali Police!

Perhaps think of it as a kind of franchise with poor quality control. You pay a lot for the rights to the uniforms, branding and the name. You pay regular fees to those above to stay in business. You're supposed to provide the same product as the other franchisees, but there's little training about what they actually are (laws etc) Somewhere in the middle you should be providing a service. But the police don't get many willing customers apart from the odd registration and licencing. So they have to get them where they can. If you do well, you'll be able to buy up to a better location with more potential business....