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Immigration Chief Unhappy With Taiwan Press Report

Claims of Corruption in Immigration Process Bring Stern Response from Chief of Bali's Airport Immigration Office.

(4/5/2004) Reports in the Taipei-based Mandarin language newspaper United Daily on March 30, 2004, that Bali's Ngurah Rai Airport immigration officers were actively seeking bribes of between US$ 2 - 10 each from arriving Taiwanese visitors in order to expedite the visa-on-arrival process, has earned a spirited response from Mr. Gede Wirdiartha, the Chief of the Airport's Immigration Office.

The article, entitled "Bali's Ngurah Rai Immigration Seek Red Envelopes from Visiting Taiwan Tourists," reportedly quoted a Mr. Wu of the Taiwan Tourist Association (TATA) who claimed waiting times of up to 2.5 hours to finish the visa process are being used by officials to extract an additional US$ 2 - 3 for handling the passport of each group member and US$ 10 from Taiwanese tourists traveling on an individual basis.

Claiming the Tawianese press reports were "tendentious" and were intended to slander and demoralize his department, Mr. Widiartha told the local press that he had already contacted the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce Office (KADIN) in Taipei to seek further clarification. He demanded that if bribes were indeed being paid to his officers that he be given the details of time and officers involved in order that he can immediately take corrective steps.

According to Mr. Widiartha, quoted in the Bali Post (20/3): "I am not defending my staff. If this has actually happened (the bribes), I will certainly take action. But please provide me with complete and accurate data. Don't slander us at long distance."

Reports filed in the past with the immigration office of malfeasance by uniformed staff have been investigated and resulted in transfers and other administrative sanctions for staff found to be abusing their duties.