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Bali police - the ineffective corrupt Balinese blight and instrument of Indonesian hate.

Indonesian Police EmblemThe Balinese police are so corrupt they even plant drugs on innocent foreigners in order to extort money from them (source: a now former European consul to Bali).

Bali's police have proven themselves incompetent to the point of ridicule, but it is not funny as safety and liberty depend on them.

Indonesian police are renowned to be interested only in extortion (along with untenable pride) and to be in league with an equally corrupt judiciary (source: Transparency International) to the extent that justice does not exist within Indonesia. They are endemically unlawful yet because they are appointed officers of the law and account only to themselves, they are above the law and with it a nasty, dangerous risk to all and a cancerous blight on Bali.

The more I discover about the Balinese police, the more I come to understand the most prolific criminals in Indonesia have brown uniforms.

It costs an Indonesian citizen (who has to come from a family trusted by the police in the first place) 20,000,000 Rupiah to become a police officer cadet in bribe money, why? Is it the burning desire to perform a public service, or to get at the tiny monthly salary? No, the reason nasty Indonesians (including nasty Balinese) pay around US$2,200 ($2,900 AUD) to get a brown police uniform is because of the money they will be able to extort from people; fact. Up to 1999, the Indonesian police were part of the TNI, the Indonesian armed forces. The TNI only get 33% of their operating budget from the civilian government, they are expected to "earn" the rest elsewhere; fact. This means every police officer (all senior police officers) who joined the Indonesian police prior to 2000 did so knowing they had to extort money from people in order to survive. The separation of police from army has meant an increasing conflict of "business" interests between them (sick, isn't it?) which has resulted in regular gun fights between the TNI and police; fact. Senior officers continue to pay bribes to their superiors in order to be promoted / posted to what are called "wet areas"; areas where they can extort / make more money.

The reason why Balinese police are so ineffective at preventing crime such as foreign children as young as 3 years old being raped in their luxury 5 star Nusa Dua hotel crèche and sent home with gonorrhea (yes, really), the rampant robberies and murders on Bali, widespread child prostitution and terrorism is; a) lack of training, b) lack of motivation, c) having to split their time between policing and money making; in fact, many brothels in Indonesia are operated by the police. The police are so bad at their stated public service job that they appoint "pecalangan" (village vigilantes) to "police" local neighborhoods; the trouble is these murderous pecalangan commit summary murders and other crimes in the name of law enforcement. Local Laskar (youth mafia aligned to the Golkar party) provide drugs and "security services" (including assassinations) with impunity and often in league with the police, in fact it is a local Balinese joke that the safest and cheapest place to buy drugs is Denpasar jail; fact. Local hotel groups are forced to try and shore up gaping holes in anti-terrorist security by hiring private security companies (that's right, murderous Laskar) because the police can not protect such a small island. Infiltration into Bali by the terrorist group JI (Jemaah Islamiah) is made easier by the fact the Indonesian Government has refused to outlaw them; fact! In fact, many security experts cite the divisions in the TNI (army) between Islamists and secularists loyal to Golkar (Suharto's party) as lending credibility to the theory that elements of the TNI actually built the Bali 2002 and 2004 bombs; fact. You see, TNI's Islamists tend to get sent to "dry" areas where the militant Islamic community reside and any bomb attack on Bali only hurts the Golkar loyal TNI elements and police, plus despised Hindus and foreigners; fact.

Now you know all about the Balinese police, let me tell you of my personal experiences with them.

My nasty competitor in Bali, John M Daniels of Bali Discovery Tours Sanur who has incited through well documented collusion / corruption the bent police of Bali to act against my civil and human rights, claims I have vowed to hurt Bali; actually I have vowed to put him, three former police chiefs and two other senior police officers in jail one day for their acts and have only apologized to the everyday people of Bali for the hurt this process might cause them. I will provide a synopsize of the total unlawful police acts committed against me below, but I have also detailed specific and substantiated details against each of three former Balinese police chiefs including two of their subordinates here; Budi Setyawan, Made Pastika and Soenarko Ardanto. OK, I do not expect one of if not the world's most corrupt criminal justice systems (source: Transparency International) to act any day soon, especially as Indonesia continues to avoid the key elements of the International Convention on Human Rights that actually allow individuals like myself to file a complaint with the UN appointed body not with Jakarta, but we all have to live in hope and the act of naming and shaming those involved helps bring forward the date they can be held to account.

Before on my about me (Mark Austin) and Bali experiences pages I detailed the events by which I emailed business contacts in Bali who, in October 2002 after the JI terrorist network Kuta bombings had assured me that police security was so tight there now according to the authorities Bali was the safest place on earth, convinced me to travel to Bali as a sign of support for the island. My email (you can read it here) detailed how I had seen the reverse. My comments were extremely well intentioned and received to the point many of my contacts asked if they could take the email to security meetings with the authorities; I said "yes, of course" as I wanted to help avoid another terrorist attack both for the sake of tourists and the Balinese economy. Unfortunately that lead to a copy of my email getting into the hands of JM Daniels who abused it into a false, malicious and highly unlawful police complaint against me; you see, just a few weeks before my company caught Daniels' Bali Discovery Tours offering unauthorized unsustainable hotel room rates on the Internet which he was forced to removed.

Before I tell you the story of what happened past that, let me just add I feel totally vindicated by my criticism of the Balinese police and their ineffective even inept security by the subsequent 2005 Bali bombings. Not only did yet more Balinese and western tourists lose their lives unnecessarily, but Bali's tourism industry and with it economy suffered much more as a result of a repeat than the original bombing. Are the Balinese police to blame in part or whole for the second bombing? I am sure yes, absolutely; all the Balinese police I have met are about is corruption, acting unlawfully and extortion not about law enforcement. If you have any doubts ask yourselves why Bali's tourism industry openly admits (markets) appointing local vigilantes to patrol the streets (source: Bali Discovery Tours). This frightening admission aligned with the fact the Indonesian Government have not outlawed the terrorist group (JI) responsible, plus statements the bomb makers were helped by the TNI (Indonesian military) including claims by one former Indonesian president, does nothing to suggest the Balinese police did what they could or should have done to prevent the second bombing. Of course my email about what I saw after the first terrorist attacks in 2002 is not flattering, nor could it have been, but it does not make me guilty of spying and / or criminal libel. The fact the police acted as they did against me simply shows I have hit the nail on the head in that the Balinese police are corrupt and inept from the top down and only show their Freudian slips like criminals do when challenged.

After sending that email my Balinese wife who was then heavily pregnant convinced me it was a good idea to go to Bali to see her family (which I did not do before) as she was unable to go. As I did not frequent the tourist areas anyway and travelled either by Thai or Singapore Airways who were both implementing stringent security themselves at airports (having their own security make sure baggage was not interfered with, etc.) I agreed. I made the mistake of being an open person about my travel plans on travel forums which my competitor Daniels watched like a hawk; it was easy enough for anyone to know which day I planned to fly back to Bali on and even which airline. When I next returned to Bali in December 2002, I was followed, stopped, detained and had my passport confiscated by the Balinese police. Their acts were unlawful (as confirmed by the British Embassy and subsequent lawyers) and their investigation was unlawful; they knew they did not have jurisdiction (over what I wrote on the Internet), nor did they have any criminal codes to provide due cause (the police recorded “The Bali Recovery Program” as the criminal code which authorized their actions; that program though is not a criminal code but a reconstruction program which did not give any them new powers / duties). The investigation was instigated as a result of an unlawfully made complaint (complaints have to be signed – this one was not, it was made through collusion), the investigation was unlawfully conducted in that the police asked questions they were not entitled to about unrelated subjects (about how much money I had), the investigation was also unlawful in that the police tried very hard to get me to sign a statement in Indonesian (I do not speak Indonesian) without a registered translator there to tell me what I was actually agreeing to; the police then lost the original unsigned statement when a registered translator was brought in a few days later. Pus the police confiscated my passport for 5 days when they had no right under law and despite my demands to have it returned (they got it from me on the pretence they were just going to make copies of it and then refused to give it back) (the police can only seize a person’s passport if they have been charged with a crime – I had not).

During the course of their unlawful investigation against me it was made clear they had somehow managed to get a copy of the original loan agreement between me and my friend to finance the villas he built in Bali. As this was done covertly without a court order, the police basically either committed burglary or obtained it through extortion / collusion (as I suspect) with the legal advisors who kept a copy of it (although they deny this of course). I was also told by the senior detective that the police were investigating me for spying and that spying carries the death penalty in Indonesia; that was a threat and intimidation. During the course of the investigation the police allowed me to see the contents of their investigation file including hand written and printed details from Jack Daniels of PT Bali Discovery Tours (my original email which had been falsely translated into Indonesian by Daniels, plus details of which flights I was likely to arrive into Bali on), who they confirmed was the complainant. It was only after the British Embassy intervened was my passport returned to me and I was allowed to leave Indonesia.

When I got out I published the full details of what had happened and named Jack Daniels / PT Bali Discovery Tours as the complainant; this is where it gets even sicker and pathetic. Jack Daniels is very full of himself and his status as he sees it in Bali and the travel industry, although I have countless messages of support from people deriding the man, even saying they believe he is mentally ill. When I published the fact Daniels made the complaint, he selectively denied it saying my accusations were without factual basis. He then demanded I apologize to him publicly on various web sites or face police action in Bali for criminal libel! Because Daniels made an unlawful (unsigned) original complaint through collusion with a police officer, his name did not appear as complainant in the police file (the file notes "a male person" appeared before the police chief but did not specify his name). Because Indonesian law is so corrupt he was then able to “convince” the police this was due cause to take a further this time signed complaint from him on the basis I had defamed him as he was not officially the original complainant !It was a sick joke but one I have subsequently found is too common in Indonesia.

When I refused to retract my factual Internet statements which were made outside Indonesian jurisdiction anyway, Daniels made a very strange boast on his web site balidiscovery dot com. He said that his lawyer was going to file a complaint of criminal libel against me with the Balinese police who would hold the complaint in a sealed envelope until I made myself available to them! Daniels in June 2003 said the police would act unlawfully against me yet again by taking a complaint from him and keep it under wraps until they could get their hands on me! Of course legally the Indonesian police have to decide within a reasonable period if they are going to progress a complaint into an investigation or not and, if they decided to investigate, they then have to register any investigation against a foreign national with the Foreigner Control Department of the police, who would then contact immigration, etc. Forget the fact the police knew it was Daniels who made the original complaint (now confirmed to me in written statements by two other people who were told the same thing by the police) and the fact the police knew they had no jurisdiction (their original unlawful investigation went nowhere because they admitted in the police file memo they had no jurisdiction), it transpired after time Daniels' very silly public boast of incitement to perverse the course of justice through corruption was accurate, but it took me a while to be sure of this.

I had my then Balinese lawyer go to the police and try and find out what they were doing about Daniels alleged latest complaint, if they were doing anything at all. They assured my lawyer several times there were no current or pending investigations against me or anything else I would need to be questioned over, but they refused to put that in writing. My lawyer even told me “The police know this is a business matter between you and Jack Daniels, not a police matter. There is no need to worry; the police say it is safe to come back to Bali without fear of them investigating you.” In hindsight these clearly were deliberate lies by the police to try and get me to come to Bali so they could inflict themselves on me yet again. Having been told the time before I might face a firing squad, fearing entrapment I asked the police to put this statement in writing to my lawyer, but they refused. It was only when Daniels let the name of the police officer his lawyer had colluded with in this latest complaint against me slip in a WIPO Internet domain dispute between us (which he lost) that my lawyer was able to confront the actual police officer involved. In February 2004 the police officer responsible refused to speak to my lawyer but the next day took Daniels’s "complaint" (which obviously existed in unlawful abeyance as Daniels himself predicted) and progressed it into an official investigation. Daniels' boast that he was going to get the police to act unlawfully against me again through collusion / corruption was proven correct; the police and Daniels had tried to trick me into coming back to Bali to face something presumably much worse than before.

The Balinese police issued a summons against me to my lawyer which they knew was as unlawful as the investigation itself as I was outside Indonesia and also that the time allowed was not sufficient for me to comply; not that I would have anyway of course (the summons cited criminal code my London lawyers advised me were for criminal libel and for spying; they even provided a translation which went into detail about how condemned spies were taken before a firing squad). I advised the police personally in writing and through both my Balinese and London lawyers that their summons and investigation were unlawful and cited the legal reasons why. Subsequently I have discovered from other victims of the corrupt Balinese police that they like to serve summons which they know people will not find out about and / or have time to comply with because Indonesian law allows them, the police, to arrest and jail someone for up to 90 days without charge if they have failed to comply with a summons, even when the summons is legally flawed and properly challenged. You see in Indonesian law you first get jailed by a criminal court and then have to try and get their verdict overturned in a civil court. So you go to jail for maybe 90 days, get released and then try to prove in the most nepotistic and corrupt judiciary in the world that what the police did was wrong!

After that event I tried everything I could to have the unlawful police investigations against me struck out. Indonesian law says the police have 2 years to conclude a case, even in someone’s absence, or they have to strike it out if challenged to do so. The police also are legally bound to respond to challenges made about the legitimacy of any investigation if done so in writing 3 times by the subject’s Indonesian lawyers, or again strike those investigations out. Not only did my lawyers write more than 3 times to the Balinese police with a myriad of legal cause to strike out the investigations, including ultimately the fact they were over 2 years old, but they also went to the police to demand this. The Balinese police simply ignored the legal process letters and started new, even more unlawful (mostly undocumented) investigations against me in which members of the feared “Laskar” mafia, clearly in unison with the police and Daniels, went around Bali looking for me and started intimidating my friends and family. I believe this was due to a rumour I was in and / or still coming into Bali via Jakarta and then catching an internal flight to Bali the next day. You see, the police in Indonesia work so independently according to their local "interests" that it is an issue for them to have immigration on other islands report back to them. They do cross co-operate but it is difficult when it involves such clearly unlawful and unwarranted investigations. Now you may begin to realize what a farce Indonesian security can be with regard to terrorists moving around the archipelago. If the police feared I could get into Bali undetected via Jakarta and had to ask Daniels and his Laskar / mafia private detectives to help monitor for me (yes they did, it is a recorded fact), how on earth does anyone think they can stop a bomber with an Indonesian ID card?

When the mafia and Balinese police failed to get my hands on me, their evil came after me where I was living in Thailand. The Balinese police next informed Interpol I was a suspect insurgent and had my name placed on Interpol’s automated watch facility, which provided them details of my movements around the world. Clearly, if the Indonesian authorities had legitimate cause and wanted to be able to detain me if I ever ventured to Indonesia again all they had to do would be to place my name on their immigration detain list throughout the country, so the use of Interpol was for another purpose which I have very clear evidence was to provide Daniels with this information. In conjunction with this unlawful use of Interpol came a fraudulently made investigation against me by a friend of Daniels (Hill Associates Bangkok) to found out my home address in Phuket. I subsequently received not only telephone death threats on a phone line which clearly implicated Daniels and his friends (it was a modem line I only ever received “wrong numbers” on but which they admit they got a hold of and thought was my main telephone number), but also had Thai gang members keep threatening vigil outside our home in Phuket. After consulting with a senior Thai police contact, I took his recommendation to bribe these highly dangerous Thai gangsters to stay away and then to leave Thailand as soon as possible; I am not given to retreat or unfounded fear, but genuinely believe if I had not moved I would have been murdered.

After leaving Thailand for the sanctuary of England and the European Union, we moved to Portugal in September 2004. Part of the reason we moved to Portugal was to put ourselves as far out of harm’s way as possible, given the Indonesian authorities have such bad blood with the Portuguese and therefore can not pull any dangerous favours against us here. We live in Portugal for other, better reasons too and I personally hope one day Bali will enjoy the same levels of police integrity and social co-operation as we found here. In the mean time be aware your safety, civil and human rights should be of greater concern to you if you are in Bali / Indonesia.

I will continue to advise any new police chiefs in Bali the specifics of my abuse and the unlawful acts against me in the hope there is a decent honest cop in Indonesia and they become Bali's chief; although I am not holding my breath. I continue to wait and hope Indonesia will accede to the key elements of the International Convention on Human Rights that would allow me to file a case which would be adjudicated by the UN appointed body, not some questionable cop in Jakarta. In the mean time I will take whatever legal action I can in the hope that my efforts will get past the barriers to justice set up by the Indonesians.

Budi Setyawan | Made Pastika | Soenarko Ardanto | PATA | WIPO | Victoria Police Australia | Hill Associates Bangkok
© Copyright 2006. Mark Austin / Nasty Bali Org. All Rights Reserved.