With You, For You, Always
By Mark Ulyseas
For The Bali Times
KUTA ~ Holidays can be a life-changing experience, especially if one is either raped or had money/belongings stolen. The Bali Times often carries reports of tourists losing their belongings to tricksters prowling the streets of Kuta.
Tourists are flocking to Bali like never before. The good times are rolling once again. And with these good times come a number of undesirables who prey on the unsuspecting holidaymakers.
Just the other day while lounging with a few Kuta Cowboys on Kuta Beach, discussing the pros and cons of whether marriage is an acceptable option if a single woman became pregnant, we were interrupted by a uniformed policeman who sat down next to us. He was an officer of the Bali Tourist Police. I struck up a conversation with him and before I knew it, we were on our way to his post to meet the officer in charge.
The Police Post is a short walk from MacDonaldâ€™s, towards the Legian Beach Hotel. Arriving at the office, I was offered a Bali Kopi and introduced to I Wayan Wira. The unassuming chap was most helpful when I enquired about the work that he and his staff are doing. He told me that their job covered the following:
1. Giving information to tourists about legal, medical and other services;
2. Guarding tourist areas;
3. Tracking down and arresting any criminals masquerading as tourists;
4. Cooperating with tourists and helping them in the event of an accident/theft/murder/problem with hotels etc.
Not convinced that this list covered everything, I asked Wayan Wira to give me a more detailed dos and donâ€™ts for all tourists and expats living on the island. This is what he had to say:
1. There have been instances where persons hiring out scooters/motorcycles/cars to tourists have asked for their passport as security. This should not be done. Instead a photocopy of the same would suffice.
2. Anyone hiring a vehicle must have an international driving license.
3. When transacting business at a money changer, one must check the amount received. There are cases where people have been cheated because the Rp10,000 and Rp100,000 notes look quite similar. Once the victim has left the premises there is little the police can do.
4. When using a taxi, write down the taxi number and the driverâ€™s name. This would help in the event any belongings have been left behind in the car or if the driver has overcharged you.
5. When using an ATM, ensure no one else is in the booth. Donâ€™t forget to take your ATM card out of the machine. Tourists have been known to sometimes leave their card behind in the machine. The result being a forgone conclusion â€“ theft.
6. In the past, pickpockets operated with impunity on the beach. Nowadays, with the arrest of the ringleaders, crime in this area has come down drastically. In spite of this, Wayan suggests one should not leave oneâ€™s belongings unattended for even a minute.
7. Drunkenness is a common feature with over indulgent tourists. Prostitutes operating in various places single out these people and befriend them. It is only the following morning that the person realizes that his wallet/passport and other precious belongings have been pilfered.
8. Any persons trying to sell drugs to you should be reported to the police immediately. Donâ€™t be afraid of reporting such instances. The police have special squads to quickly act on such information and to apprehend the dealers. You will be protected by the police.
9. Do not accept cigarettes, food or drink from strangers. In a restaurant donâ€™t leave an unattended drink on the table while going to the toilet. Unscrupulous people are known to put substances in your drink to drug you and then rob you.
10. Get a local cellphone number so that it is easier and cheaper to communicate with the police.
11. Keep the following telephone numbers of the Bali Tourist Police with you while traveling in Bali:
Kuta Tourist Police Post
Sanur Tourist Police Post
BK3S Post, Jl. Danau Tamblingan
(next to Bali Hyatt Hotel)
Nusa Dua Tourist Police Post
Bundaran Tugu Mandala Kawasan BTDC Nusa Dua
Ngurah Rai Airport Tourist Police
Airport Police Sector Ngurah Rai
(0361) 751 023
Tourist Assistance Centre
Bali Regional Police
The tourist police, who speak English, have been known to help tourists who have had problems with hotels, tour operators and transport agents.
Jason (name changed), a first-time tourist, spoke to me on Kuta Beach about how he was grossly overcharged by a nearby hotel despite the fact that the room rate was confirmed via email to him prior to his arrival in Bali. The hotel went so far as to seize his luggage. Jason reported the matter to the Tourist Police, who acted promptly in releasing his luggage and ensuring that the hotel abided by the rate agreed by email.
So whether you are on Kuta Beach, at the airport or sunbathing anywhere in Bali, your rights as a tourist are protected. All you have to do in the event of an unforeseen problem arising is to call the Bali Tourist Police and they will sort things out for you.
In the words of Wayan Wira, â€œPeople are known to take shortcuts by attempting to bribe officials or police personnel. This is very dangerous. It could lead to more complications. If anyone has a problem while traveling in Bali, please call us. We will help and guide you. We are with you, for you, always â€“ as our motto is Safety First for All Tourists â€“ domestic or foreign.â€
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om
Filed under: Paradox In Paradise