While the government’s bribery eradication drive has been highly publicized in recent years, few Indonesians would be surprised if a traffic police officer still asked them for a bribe in lieu of a fine for committing a traffic violation.
One such incident was caught in a video that has since gone viral over the past week. Recorded in mid-November in Semarang, Central Java, the discreetly taken video shows a traffic police officer bringing a couple of motorcyclists over to a police car so that he can write them tickets.
The officer then explains to one motorcyclist that he will be fined IDR1.5 million (US$110.50) for carrying an expired driver’s license (the actual fine for not carrying a valid license, according to Laws on Traffic and Road Vehicles, is IDR1 million). He then tells them that he would accept a payment amounting to half of the fine and then he wouldn’t have to write up the ticket.
After some negotiating, the cop can be seen receiving several IDR100,000 notes from the offender.
A spokesperson for the Central Java Police apologized for the bribery solicitation shown in the video and said that the officer, identified by his initial A, is currently being investigated internally and may be sent to jail.
“We’re trying to fix all aspects (of the force) but there are still those who are playing around like that,” said Central Java Traffic Police Director Baharuddin, as quoted by Liputan 6 yesterday.
Of course, bad apples like officer A do not represent every police officer in Indonesia. That said, the reputation of Indonesian police as a whole would be a lot better if there were more people like officer Seladi from Malang, who won the nation’s hearts by choosing to scavenge trash as a side job rather than accept bribes.