145 unlicensed money changers identified in Denpasar, Badung, and Gianyar

A money changer in Legian, Kuta has been shut down for scamming tourists. Photo: Obtained.
A money changer in Legian, Kuta has been shut down for scamming tourists. Photo: Obtained.

Police in Bali are continuing their crusade against dishonest money changers after an Australian couple got duped in Kuta a couple of weeks ago, this time identifying 145 currency exchange facilities operating unlicensed in several parts of the island. 

Bali Police General Crimes Unit Deputy Chief Suratno said his department recently inspected 155 money changers in Denpasar, Badung, and Gianyar and found that only 10 of them had the proper permits.

However, Suratno said that they do not have the authority to shut down the money changers.

“We do not have the authority to shut down [unlicensed money changers] because the regulations are in the hands of Bank Indonesia. We also face hurdles because no official complaints have been filed by the victims who are mostly foreign tourists,” Suratno said, adding that the police were not able to investigate the money changer that scammed the Australian couple as the victims did not file a police report. 

As previously reported, the money changer was blacklisted from operating in Legian, Kuta by local village authorities who see the presence of dishonest money changers as detrimental to tourism in the area. Legally, however, only the central bank has the authority to officially close them down. 

Separately, the head of the Bali office of Bank Indonesia, Trisno Nugroho, said that as of June this year, the central bank has on record 103 non-bank foreign currency exchange agencies that are certified in Bali, with a total of 388 branch offices. Badung Regency has the most branch offices with 347.

Meanwhile, Bali Vice Governor Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardhana Sukawati said separately that he plans to form a task force involving various institutions to tackle dishonest money changers, saying that their existence is harmful to the island’s tourism image. 

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