Extortion scandal erupts at Bali airport

Five immigration control officers at Bali airport have been accused of extorting money from tourists using the expedited entry queue. The head of the immigration service, Ngurah Rai Sukhendra, apologized for the behavior of his staff, calling it a discredit to the airport's name. He promised to take measures to improve service at control points.
Meanwhile, rumors surfaced that the Bali prosecutor's office set up airport employees by organizing traps in the priority lane of the international terminal. The prosecutor's office vehemently denied this accusation, stating that it did not provoke the incident but reacted to passenger statements and complaints about extortion at the airport. An investigation into the alleged violations was conducted for a month starting in October. One suspect named Hario Seto was identified, and several immigration officers were questioned as witnesses. It was also noted that there was no reconciliation between the prosecutor's office and the immigration office through restorative justice, as they were accused of after immigration workers returned the money. Chandra clarified that the return of money was done independently due to the employees' acknowledgment of their mistake, not under pressure from the investigative group. Former prosecutor representative Dairi urged not to mix the investigation with various rumors, emphasizing that the main goal is to eliminate corruption at airports through law enforcement procedures. Following the incident, the airport management held a conference involving various agencies, including the Bali Department of Human Rights, immigration customs, quarantine, airport police, administration, and the CEO, Angkasa Pura I. They discussed ways to prevent violations in passenger service. It is worth noting that all tourists arriving in Bali are required to have a return ticket, and unpaid reservations usually do not satisfy immigration officers. According to arriving individuals, it has become nearly impossible to "negotiate" with officers after passing airport checks. Since October 2023, the airport has installed 30 automatic gates (autogates), which will be operational by the end of December 2023. An additional 50 autogates are planned for the first quarter of 2024, and the transition from the manual VoA (Visa on Arrival) system to the E-VoA system using the Molina platform for online payment is anticipated. The number of autogate users will gradually increase, so in the future, all passengers will use autogates without direct interaction with immigration officers. A control room (Control Room) will also be established in the international arrival area, monitoring passenger flow in both arrival and departure zones.
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