You’re on Camera: police officers filmed extorting Japanese tourist in Bali

A screenshot showing one of the two officers from the original video uploaded by user style kenji on Youtube.
A screenshot showing one of the two officers from the original video uploaded by user style kenji on Youtube.

Two Bali police officers were filmed extorting a Japanese tourist for IDR1 million (US$67.76) over an alleged traffic violation last year, footage of which was widely circulated only recently and have led to a formal apology from the Indonesian National Police (Polri).

The video was first uploaded on Youtube last December by user style kenji, who appears to be a Japanese national. It went viral in the past week, with the original post having garnered over 500,000 views and with copies shared across other social media platforms. 

The footage shows two police officers in Jembrana regency allegedly extorting the tourist for a minor traffic violation, though reports indicate that the officers weren’t members of the traffic unit to begin with. In the video, they fined the tourist IDR1 million for not turning on the headlights on his motorbike, but ended up taking IDR900,000 as the tourist appeared to be lacking in cash. 

Under Indonesia’s 2009 Traffic Laws, motorbikes on the road must have their headlights turned on, both during the day and night. Article 293 stipulates that drivers who are caught in violation of this rule during the day are subject to a maximum penalty of 15 days’ imprisonment or a fine of IDR100,000 (US$6.77). 

On Friday, a spokesman from the National Police said they have punished the two officers. 

“The police have taken strict action against the police officers,” National Police spokesman Argo Yuwono said. 

Argo did not reveal more information about their punishment, only going so far as to confirm that the extortion did take place and offering a public apology. He also encouraged the public to file a report if they witness or experience such an incident.

Previously, Jembrana Police chief Ketut Gede Adi Wibawa said they are conducting an investigation into the misconduct, adding that both officers have admitted to their wrongdoing. 

Well, are we really that surprised? The answer is no. Most Indonesians would likely tell you that traffic police officers soliciting bribes are common. But seeing as how they’re not always caught on camera, it offers one explanation as to why the footage went viral even though it’s been eight months since it was originally posted. 

As usual, Indonesians were quick to respond to the viral incident, with several expressing their disappointment on Twitter:

This was uploaded to the Youtube account of a Japanese, and it has been seen over 200,000 times. Very shameful.

That’s not traffic police officers and a foreign national should just be given a warning because of course they won’t know existing regulations. How do you develop tourism if authorities are still acting this way.

Read more news and updates from Bali here.

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