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Promises, Promises

Provincial Authorities in Bali Promise to Get Tough on Illegal Transport Operators and Illegal Guides

(3/23/2014) The Bali Daily (Jakarta Post) reports that the provincial administration of Bali is once again promising to toughen enforcement on illegal tourist transportation and illegal tour guides.

In a somewhat seemingly contradictory, if not ironic, move, provincial authorities believe that enforcement could be improved by rewriting the current laws to provide for lighter sentences.

According to Ketut Arnawa of the Bali Public Order Agency (Satpol PP), throughout all of 2013 his office had taken legal steps against 324 violators of 27 by-laws, including violations of the province's tourism laws.

Said Arnawa: “Some of these violations were related to tourism, such as illegal tour guides and transport services. We have taken the matter to the court and the punishments ranged from ‘tipiring’ to deportation.”

Tipiring
sees the violator brought before a special court to speed up the judicial process, typically resulting in a modest fine imposed by a magistrate.

Promising that enforcement would be increased on illegal tour guides and illegal tourist transportation in 2014, Arnawa said that his office had limited enforcement powers against illegal guides and illegal transport and even less enforcement authority against illegal accommodation providers - a matter left solely to the regencies.

“So far, 80 percent of the violations were found during inspections launched by our team, and only 20 percent originated from reports submitted by concerned citizens. In the future, we hope that the public will play a bigger role in reporting violations to us,” Arnawa explained.

The province is planning more surprise inspections of at least twice each month at tourist attractions in Bali to capture illegal guides and illegal transport operators.

86 tourist transportation operators were processed through speedy trials in 2013 and ended up paying a small fine.

While hundreds of illegal guides were rounded up in 2013, only 8 were actually brought to trial. Because the possible prison term for working as an illegal guide is six months means the amount of supporting documents needed to bring a case to trial is substantial, creating an overwhelming burden on law enforcement and prosecutors who are overwhelmed and fail to bring all those caught breaking the law to trial.

After four months is spent preparing the legal dossier for trial, many charged with acting as an illegal guide simply fail to show up on their court date. The maximum sentence of six months does not allow the suspects to be held until trial and while police do confiscate the suspects ID cards, these are easily replaced in the home village of the illegal guide.

A suggestion has been floated of increasing the monetary fine that can be levied against illegal guides and reducing the sentence to just three months, preparing the way for violatorsto then be processed in the less bureaucratic Tipiring court process. “By doing so, we would be able to send the violators to the ‘tipiring’ court and process hundreds of cases in one week,” Arnawa explained.

Foreigners found working as illegal tour guides are, however, a different matter. Once caught in the act they are detained and handed over to immigration for eventual deportation.

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