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Go Directly to Jail, Do Not Pass Go

Foreign Illegal Tour Guides Apprehended at Local Temple Complex.

(12/18/2006) The Indonesian language Nusa Bali reports that two foreign tour guides were recently apprehended during the course of leading a group of travelers through the Tirta Empul Temple Complex near Tampaksiring.

According to the press report, the two guides, identified as a Polish female named "Agniszka" and a Russian male "Valery," were arrested by police in early November and December.

Current regulations only permit licensed individuals to provide guiding services in Bali. To qualify as a guide in Bali a person must be an Indonesian national, have fluency in the national language of Indonesia, prove residency in Bali for at least two years and undergo testing to demonstrate a command of local history and culture.

The two illegal tour guides, believed to be only two of many other operating on the Island, were reported to local police by Kania, a local licensed tour guide and Chairman of the Indonesian Tour Guide Association (HPI), who made evidentiary recordings of the tour guides working via a camera on his cell phone.

The Nusa Bali reports that the Russian guide, Valery, when apprehended was leading group that was accompanied by a local Balinese guide who told reporters that she was not allowed to speak directly with the guests throughout the entire tour. The group was reportedly organized by Look Asia - a tour operator not registered with the Indonesian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (ASITA).

An HPI-Bali spokesman said there are currently "tens" of illegal guides working in Bali.

In the past, illegal guides are normally processed through the courts for working illegally and violating immigration rules, punished and then deported.