Indonesian Customs has been in the spotlight after being accused of extortion by a Taiwanese tourist which occurred in an incident with customs officers at I Gusti Ngurah Rai Airport, Bali.
The story unfolded in a TikTok video on the account @lylien59. There is a video from the Taiwanese news media featuring a narrative that states that a Taiwanese tourist received unfair treatment from customs officers.
The clip says that the tourist was asked to pay a fine of $4,000, or around Rp60 million, for taking photos in the customs area of Ngurah Rai Airport, Bali. The tourist was threatened with deportation if he did not pay the fine.
However, the customs officer then only asked for a fine of $400, or around Rp6 million, because the tourist was committing their first violation.
The Head of the Sub-Directorate of Public Relations and Customs Counseling, Hatta Wardhana, confirmed that he had conducted a search for information about a Taiwanese tourist being asked to pay a sum of money for taking photos in a restricted area of the airport.
“We believe that the incident did not occur at customs. We do not have the authority to record fingerprints and add stamps in passports,” Wardhana said in a written statement on Thursday, 13th April 2023.
In addition, Customs has traced the source of the news to Taiwan’s PTT online forum site and confirmed that the incident did not occur in the customs area.
Wardhana also traced the forum account belonging to the Taiwanese tourist. He had said that a customs officer approached him and then took him to a dark room and threatened him with deportation.
The account added that to get his passport back from the officer and continue his trip, he agreed to the officer’s request not to reveal the reduced fine he had received. Then, the officer asked him to record fingerprints and stamped the Taiwanese tourist’s passport, after which he could continue his trip.
Wardhana said that taking photos in the restricted area of the airport is regulated by the regulation of the Minister of Transportation number PM 80/2017 which states that it is not part of the authority of Customs. Customs also has no authority to deport tourists.
“However, we will still try to coordinate with various parties so that we can find out the real problem and communicate with those concerned. We can also convey that currently we are in the process of coordinating with the Indonesian Economic and Trade Office (IETO) in Taipei,” he said.