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Custom and Excise Sanction 10 Staff

Ten Custom's Officers at Bali's Airport Reassigned Following Complaint from Australian Tourist.

(6/16/2003) The Indonesian-language Bali Post (June 10) reports that ten officers assigned to Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport have been reassigned to administrative posts within the Department of Customs and Excise, effective Monday, June 9, 2003.

The reassignments were made following a complaint filed by an Australian tourist, Simon Manning-Blain, that he was extorted for US$ 20 in cash when arriving in Bali for a short holiday. According to the report, the Australian tourist was told that he must pay a Rp. 10 million (approximately US$ 1,200) import duty on a painting transiting with him in Bali on his trip back home to Australia.Manning-Blain reported to authorities and the local press that he was compelled to pay a bribe of US$ 20 to a custom's officer in order to be allowed to pass through customs when, in fact, no duty was required on personal belongings to be re-exported at the end of his holiday.

In announcing the reassignment, Rai Setio, the Head of the Airport's Customs Office, said that his investigations were unable to uncover who specifically may have been involved in the alleged bribe or if a bribe was actually paid or requested.

Nonetheless, he decided to undertake the reassignments as a shock therapy in order to remind his subordinates to be more careful in how they carry out their responsibilities and so that his officers remain conscious of the need to always uphold the Nation's image.