Bali Police recently went undercover as customers to expose a covert network of transactions involving cryptocurrency payments. The operation led to the arrest of TS, 33, a car rental entrepreneur, at his business premises in Jimbaran on Monday.
The Cyber Unit of the Bali Police launched an investigation after receiving reports of an increasing number of individuals using cryptocurrency for transactions on the Island of Gods.
Bali Police’s Crime Investigation Unit Chief Nanang Prihasmoko said that police infiltrated a car rental group on the Telegram app and contacted the suspect as potential renters. They asked for his wallet address to make the payment and arranged a meeting to finalize the car rental deal.
“We asked for their wallet address so that we could make the payment and proceed with the transaction,” he said yesterday as quoted by Kompas.
At the meeting, TS, the owner of the rental business, was arrested. The police seized a mobile phone used for the transactions, a Pajero Sport vehicle, an Indodax account, a Telegram account, Telegram screenshots, and the suspect’s ATM card.
Under Indonesian law, anyone who conducts transactions without using the Indonesian rupiah for payments or other financial obligations may face up to one year in prison and a fine of IDR 200 million (US$13,337)
“We encourage the use of the Indonesian rupiah because it is the only currency in Indonesia, and we must conduct transactions with it,” Nanang added.
Separately, Bali Police spokesman Stefanus Satake Bayu Setianto said that TS had been accepting cryptocurrency from foreign nationals on the island since March.
He added that Bali Police have identified several businesses such as cafés, car rentals, and property agencies that use cryptocurrency as a means of payment.