Posted by Frank from Germany on October 13, 2005 at 9:31 am:
my wife and I spent 2 month on Bali this summer and had quite a couple of unpleasant contacts with the local cops of the Seminyak, Legian, Kuta area.
We decided in order to be more flexbile on the island to rent a motor bike wich I was supposed to drive, since I possess an international drivers license confirming that I am capable to drive such vehicle. Anyway the first days everythings went well, driving on the island was quite fun, until we made the first contact with the bali police. Its was quite an experience, out of a crowd of 20 motor bikes the police spotted us and well waved us out, since we were the only tourists within that crowd. I dindnt think or didnt even worried too much about it since I thought it might be just a regular check on pappers, but hey it went out to be just a rip off. At first they were trying to convince me that I was driving too fast wich I could somehow convince them to be wrong, since I was the last one in that crowd of motor bikes, well then it went on and they wanted to check my pappers of course, I didnt thought anything could happen, having my int. license right on me, but well then they were explaining that this license doesnt work on the island and so on, and there it started to be funny and got quite frustrating. For probably 15 minutes I tried to explain to the cop that an international drivers license is an international drivers license and even showed him that indonesia was posted as supported within that license but he didnt even listen, telling me quite a couple of times that I am in his country and I am supposed to obtain / obbey the indonesian law but actually he meant his law. The funny thing was that he rejected the license due to the format of my license, since I believe the int. licenses differ in norm/size from country to country. After probably 30 minutes of argueing he finally came up with a proposal that I could spent some time in jail before getting to court or pay him 250.000 rp. I tried to bargain it down to 20.000 rp, what an balinese friend told us to be the normal amount for bribing police in that area, but it didnt work at all. Well since it was my first contact with local police I got quite frightened by imagining spending some time in jail on bali and my wife was quite scared as well and started to be a kind of hysterical, so I decided to pay him off so that we could continue our vacation. After he got the money he got quite friendly until I made the mistake to ask for a propper receipt, so that no other cop in that area could stop me on that day again and ask for a fine. In that moment I realized that I goted ripped off quite bad and I decided to shut up and get the hell out of there since they are the police and I am just a tourist.
In fact our vacation went on and we soon were able to forget about that unpleasant experience, I even checked again via internet if the int. license handed out to me by german police works in indonesia, well it sure does. Selfconfident after the good news form the internet we were kept on driving that motor bike until we again run into local police in Seminyak, that time it was a different cop but the story was the same, except that the fine / bribe we had to pay was less, just 150.000 rp. Afterwards I figured out, that the bribe is about 50.000 rp for every involved cop at the scene. The first time there were 5 cops involved the second time only 3, that definitly makes 50.000 rp per cop. After the second contact to the local police I decided to go to the main police headquarter in denpasar and bought myself for 200.000 rp an indonesian drivers license just to be on the safe spot. After that everything went cool, I even enjoyed to get stopped by local police and that happened 20 more times (believe it we got stop 22 time in 2 month), every stop was great seeing the dissappointed faces of that shitty cops, for sure they tried to catch me for other things like driving while drunk and shit like that, but that was a farce, they couldnt convict me since I didnt.
Its too sad that there seems to be no real / honest police on Bali, even with the proper documents they try to cheat and lurk you all the time. We still love Bali and the honest people we met on our journey but the corruption will be in our backheads and we will in future think twice if we going to Bali again.
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