Tourists arriving in Bali are being warned of an alleged airport scam following the arrest of five immigration officers at Ngurah Rai International Airport after numerous public complaints.
The officers are accused of fast-tracking foreign tourists through the airport priority arrivals lane in exchange for cash, with some travellers being charged between 100 to 250 thousand rupiah ($10 to $25) per person — despite the service being free of charge.
The officers were taken into custody on Tuesday on suspicion of abusing the express system designed for those who require extra assistance, including the elderly and pregnant women. Deddy Koerniawan, Assistant for Special Crimes at the Bali High Prosecutor’s Office, told media the alleged scam came to light following complaints from the public, The Bali Sun reports.
“Fast-track services are free of charge for priorities such as the elderly and pregnant women,” he said. “However, foreigners who use the fast-track facility are (routinely being) charged between 100 to 250 thousand rupiah ($10 to $25) per person.
“There was an incident of fast-track levies with a nominal value of IDR 100-200 million per month. From this security, the Prosecutor’s Office managed to secure money worth IDR 100 million ($10,000). Of course, these profits are illegal, and could damage the image of Bandra International Ngurah Rai.”
Rise of scams targeting tourists
Travellers arriving in Bali are being urged not to pay for priority services and to report any incidents to authorities. It comes amid fears of other widespread scams targeting tourists.
Earlier this year, an Aussie woman claimed she was ‘set up’ by officials after arriving in Bali and was made to fork out US$1000 ($1500) for having a ‘dirty’ passport. She was allegedly told she was unable to enjoy her holiday without paying at the airport.
But when she returned to Australia and reported it to border security she was allegedly informed the situation appeared to be a set-up.
Meanwhile, an ATM scam targeted towards tourists throughout Bali has left many on high alert. The alleged scam involves a ‘broken’ sign being placed on a machine to divert people to others in the area.
“This is a scam they have been doing for a very long time,” one person said on Facebook recently. They explained that scammers patiently wait for unsuspecting people to use a nearby ATM, instead of the one that’s broken, which are likely fitted with a skimmer — a device designed to covertly capture cardholder information for illicit purposes.
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