Indonesian traveler paid IDR6.5 million to skip quarantine after return from India: police

Soekarno-Hatta International Airport’s Terminal 3 in November 2019. <em>Photo: Nadia Vetta Hamid for Coconuts Media</em>
Soekarno-Hatta International Airport’s Terminal 3 in November 2019. Photo: Nadia Vetta Hamid for Coconuts Media

The Jakarta Metro Police has arrested a traveler and two airport officials over an alleged bribe that allowed the former to skip hotel quarantine, which is mandatory for all incoming travelers from abroad. 

Travel restrictions are stricter for travelers from India, however, as Indonesia seeks to prevent transmission of dangerous new mutations of the coronavirus by suspending all arrivals from the South Asian country over its devastating second COVID-19 wave. 

The traveler, an Indonesian man identified by his initials JD, flew back to Jakarta from India on Sunday, April 25, which marked the first day of the ban. 

The suspension does not apply to Indonesians returning from India, as they are still permitted to enter the country with “tightened health protocols,” including a mandatory 14-day quarantine at designated hotels.

According to the police, upon arrival at the Soekarno-Hatta Airport, JD bribed two men, who claimed to be airport officials identified by the initials S and RW, IDR6.5 million (US$448.39) to skip quarantine.

“It was taken care of by S and RW, and [JD] was able to go home without undergoing quarantine,” Jakarta Metro Police spokesman Yusri Yunus said yesterday.

Police say they’re investigating the possibility that S and RW and that they may be part of an organized crime syndicate that helps returning travelers circumvent mandatory isolation for a fee. It’s not clear if they actually work at the airport, but the Soekarno-Hatta Immigration Office believes that no airport employee was involved and that S and RW aided JD after he had left the airport.

The police have yet to publicly announce charges against JD, S, and RW.

Indonesians have become especially wary of travelers from India after hundreds arrived in the country prior to the travel ban, at least 12 of whom tested positive for COVID-19.

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