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Profiling Philippians

Two Philippine Women Tourist Protest Body Search at Bali's Ngurah Rai Airport

(6/11/2011) NusaBali reports that a recent customs inspection of two women from the Philippines arriving at Bali's Ngurah Rai Airport is generating publicity internationally, with Manila newspapers suggesting Philippine tourists may risk racial profiling when on a Bali holiday.

An article on the Asia News Network by Philip Tubeza is claiming two woman may have been treated inhumanely by Bali Custom officials who strip searched them looking for concealed narcotics.

The report claims the two women's were touched in private areas of their bodies despite the fact that an initial body scan showed no signs of concealed drugs.

When the women protested, official told them that their inspection was in keeping with established procedures. The latest inspection follows a similar incident in April 2011 when an arriving Philippine female tourist underwent a complete inspection.

The Philippine Department of Foreign affairs is now involved in the case, claiming the way in which the inspection was conducted was unethical, unprofessional and had racist undertones.

Meanwhile, the head of the surveillance department from the Ngurah Rai Immigration office, Felix, confirmed that two Philippine women were strip searched, insisting that the search conformed with standard procedures. Felix said the search was conducted after a preliminary interview raised suspicions that the women may be concealing drugs. Said Felix: "Ngurah Rai immigration does not want to be duped again. Many narcotic distributors enter Bali by swallowing or concealing drugs in their stomachs, sexual organs or elsewhere."

He also confirmed that at the time of the inspection the tourists made no objection and continued their journey after no illegal contraband was found on or in their person.

Citing past cases of Philippine women who have been caught carrying drugs into Bali, Felix said that the women had visited Thailand prior to arriving in Bali, a fact that only served to heighten his officers' suspicions.