Bali News Update week 19 N.

Some Like their Hotel Hot!

Regent Bali on Sanur Beach named to CNN Traveler Hot List

 

CNNtraveler has released their annual list of new hotel openings around the world that, in their opinion, are so good that they deserve instant international recognition. 

 

Dubbed the “Hot List” – the 2014 edition includes 51 hotels that encircle whole world from New York to New Zealand.

 

The Regent Bali, opened in 2013, is the sole Indonesian hotel to make it onto the prestigious CNNtraveler Hot List 2014.

 

Crediting the Regent Bali with providing Sanur Beach with “some much-needed va-va-boom,” CNN Traveler credits the resorts with providing a sorely needed “nice place to stay” in that section of Bali.

 

“Over-scaled” and “immediately impressive” the interiors are praised for being uncluttered and serene. Also earning top markets is the Regent Bali’s Layang-Layang restaurant for its approach to Indonesian cuisine including Indonesian sop buntut (oxtail soup) and be celeng mebese manis (braised pork in sweet soy sauce).

 

See the entire Hot List of New Hotels from CNN Traveler 

 

Hello Bandung! Hello Badung! Hello Panghegar!

Badung-Based Panghegar Hotel Group Breaks Ground on its First Bali Project.

 

The State New Agency Antara and Radar Bali report that PT Panghegar Kana Legacy – a subsidiary of the Pangehagar Group undertook a groundbreaking for a new hotel located in South Bali.

 

The Pangehegar Uluwatu Cliff Beach resort is being built on a 33-hectare Cliffside plot that will have 150 condotels units, 54 beach front suites, 23 villas and 40 lagoon suites.

 

At the groundbreaking, Panghegar director Hilwan Saleh said the new property is scheduled for opening in December 2016.

 

Marketing of the units is underway with condotel units being sold for between Rp. 3-5 billion (US$260,000-US$435,000); beachfront suites for between Rp. 4 – 5.5 billion (US$348,000 – US$478,000); and villas for around Rp. 10 billion (US$870,000).

 

Saleh told the press that Uluwatu was selected for the project in keeping with Panghegar’s targeting for international tourists for their newest property.

 

The location sits on a relatively isolated chalk cliff suspended over the Indian Ocean.

 

The new property will feature a wedding chapel in order to secure a portion of the lucrative growing newlywed market in Bali,

 

Saleh explained that the WOW architectural firm of Singapore has been engaged to design the physical structure of the resort and Gensler, also of Singapore, is designing the interiors.

 

M. Sofyar, president director of PT Panghegar Kana Legacy told the press that Rp. 1 trillion (US$87 million) is needed to complete the project, adding, “Panghegar is working together with an investor to meet that financial requirement.”

 

Naked Justice

Police Formally Charge Five in Raid on Lavender Club for Presenting Nude Dancing

 

Following a raid and the arrest of 11 women and the manager of the Lavender Night Club in Kuta on Thursday, May 8, 2014, the Denpasar police precinct has formally named the Club’s general manager - identified as “Leo,” his assistant Pri - also known as Wawa, a mama-san and two female strippers as criminal suspects in connection with live mude strip show presented at the club in Kuta.

 

Quoted by Radar Bali, the head of the Criminal Division of the Denpasar police, Benny Murjayanto, was quick to deny reports that police had already released those organizing the nude dancing, announcing that several members of the Club’s management had been named as criminal suspects to await trial 

 

Police said that three patrons watching the nude performance at the Club were interrogated by police at the scene and released.

 

Where the Jobs Are

Bali by the Numbers: Trading, Restaurant and Accommodation Providers Biggest Employers

 

The trading, restaurant and accommodation sectors in Bali creates 674,000 jobs or approximately 28.38% of the estimated 2.41 million workers on the Island.

 

As reported by the State News Agency Antara, the chief of the Bali Statistic Bureau (BPS-Bali), Panasunan Siregar, said, “The employment conditions in Bali are connected closely with the synergy taking place in Bali as a tourism destination.”

 

Those employed in the trading, restaurant and accommodation in February declined slightly as a percentage of the whole in 2014. Those same sections of the economy in 2013 represented 29.19% of all job.

 

The agricultural sector still plays a very significant role in absorbing workers, with 590,170 people working in that sector representing 24.89% of all workers.

 

The next most significant source of employment in Bali is the service sector providing jobs for 381,220 workers. This sector has increase slightly as a percentage of the whole (16.40%) when compared to February 2013 (16.23%).

 

Those working in Bali industrial sector increase slightly month on month in February to 337,080 people (14.18%).

 

41.91% of all workers in Bali are formally employed by the remainder are occupied in the informal sector. This means that the majority of Bali workers have loose or informal connections to their employment.

 

Job A ‘Plenty in Bali

Bali has Lowest Unemployment Rates in Indonesia

 

According to the Bali Central Statistic Bureau (BPS-Bali), unemployment in Bali stands at only 1.37% - the lowest level for any province in all of Indonesia.

 

Quoted by the State News Agency Antara, the chief of BPS-Bali, Panasunan Siregar, said, “this fact (low unemployment) can be seen from the large number of people working in Bali and the national employment survey (Sakernas) for February 2014.”

 

Siregar puts the total number of people in Bali of an age suitable for employment at 3.06 million, 2.41 million of this total actually hold jobs while the remaining 656,080 others are not employed but involved attending a place of education or in household activities.

 

In January the BPS-Bali counted 2.37 people employed a total equal to 98.63% of the available workforce. This results in an unemployment rate of 1.37%.

 

Unemployment rates in Bali have declined steadily throughout 2013 and through Q1 of 2014.

 

An Australian Homecoming

As Relations Warm Between Jakarta and Canberra, Indonesian Ambassador Returns After 7 month absence

 

The Jakarta Globe reports that the chilly state of relations between Jakarta and Canberra may be about to thaw as the Indonesian Ambassador to Australia is packing his bags and planning to once again assume his Ambassadorial duties in Canberra.

 

Ambassador Nadjib Riphat Kesoema quit Canberra in November 2013 amidst allegations that Australian intelligence was involved in listening to the hand phone conversations of the Indonesian President, Cabinet and First Lady.

 

Meanwhile, trade between Indonesia and Australia was estimated at US$13 billion last year with many experts worried that a continuing state of sour relations between the two neighbors puts trade at risk.

 

Ambassador Nadjib Riphat Kesoema told Reuters, “I haven’t been given an exact date but I’m expecting to go back to Australia by the last week of May,” adding Indonesia was “working very hard to mend our relationship with Australia.” 

 

And the Sea is Very Still Once More

Young Balinese Couple Drown While Swimming at Gumicik Beach

 

A young Balinese couple, I Kadek Purnayasa (22) from Karangasem, and his girlfriend, Ni Luh Putu Widnya Anggreni (22) from Sukawati, drowned on Gumicik Beach in Sukawati on Sunday, May 11, 2104 at approximately 4:30 pm.

 

DenPost reports that the couple, spending an afternoon on the beach with a group of friends, was swept out to see by a wave.

 

The body of Ni Luh Putu Widnya Anggreni, a nursing student, was found two hours later some 50 meters to the east of where she was last seen.

 

The body of her male companion, I Kadek Purnayasa, was found two days later by Search and Rescue workers on Tuesday morning

 

The head of the Sukawati police precinct, I Ketut Dana, said the young couple visited the beach with a group of 14 friends that divided into two groups, one visiting Lembeng Beach and the other Gumicik Beach

 

The couple, determining the girl’s uncle was on Lembeng Beach, elected to swim at Gumicik Beach.

 

The group of nine began by sitting on Gumicik Beach, before the ill fated coupled decided to go for a swim with another member of their group, Kadek Nopi (13). 

 

The couple swam out into deeper water, while Kadek Nopi played in the shallows. Suddenly a large wave struck pulling all three out to see. Kadek Nopi was saved by a nearby relative while the young couple floated further out to see while those on the beach watched helplessly while hearing the panicked cries of Anggreni for help.

 

Police, rescue workers and lifesavers arrived on the shore a short time later after receiving a report of the incident and commence a search.

 

When the drowning occurred, large waves and high water were reported along the entire southeastern seaboard of Bali.

 

To Those in Peril on the Seas

No Injuries as Inter-island Ferry from Bali to Java Catches Fire

 

The engine of an inter-island passenger ship the KMP Renny II caught fire during a crossing of the Bali Straits from Gilimanuk, Bali to Ketapang, East Java on Wednesday, May 14, 2014.

 

Click Image to Enlarge

According to the State News Agency Antara, the ship was carrying 57 passengers, 15 two-wheeled vehicles and 11 four-wheeled vehicles – all of which were transferred to other ships at Ketapang. 

 

There was no loss of life resulting from the incident on board the ship.

 

The operational manager of the State-owned company River and Inter-Island Transport Company (ASDP), Saharudin Kotto reported over the telephone: “The Passenger ship Renny II did not burn. There was only smoke from the engine room and authorities are still investigating the cause of the smoke.” 

 

Sahrudin confirmed that there were no casualties in the emergency that necessitated the evacuation of the to another vessel. The displaced passengers were brought to the VIP room at the Ketapang Port in Banyuwangi, East Java.

 

“We have sent two ships to tow the Renny to Ketapang in order to keep the the busy seaway between Bali and East Java clear and open,” Sahrudin explained.

 

Observers at the scene said the large amount of smoke pouring from the ship’s engine room and the engine’s subsequent failure caused panic to the passengers on board the Renny II.

 

Straighten Up and Fly Right

Quarrelling Couple on Sydney to Singapore Scoot Air Flight Cause Unscheduled Emergency Landing in Bali

 

Bali was once again touched by an incident of Australian travelers behaving badly on international flights.

 

On April 25, 2014, 28-year-old Australian Matt Christopher Lockley caused a security scare when he tried to gain access to the cockpit on a Virgin Australia flight from Brisbane to Bali. 

 

Less than a month later, Bali experience another in-flight scares requiring the emergency diversion to Bali of a Scoot Air flight bound for Singapore. The security detail at Bali’s airport again went on alert on Wednesday, May 14, 2014 when the Sydney to Singapore Scoot flight TZ001 was diverted to Bali due to a domestic altercation among two passengers,

 

Metrobali.com, quoting the head of the communications and legal department at Ngurah Rai Airport, Shively Sanssouci, confirmed the unscheduled emergency landing took place at 4:46 pm with the plane departing again for Singapore at 7:32 pm.

 

The flight diversion was caused by an physical fight between a couple, believed to be a husband and wife, on board the flight in which the Australian man reportedly tried to injure himself and his wife suffered a suspected broken arm.

 

Shively would not confirm to the press if the man and woman were fighting on the flight, but did confirm the flight crew determined the couple represented a threat to the flight’s safety and that the women's injuries needed urgent medical care.

 

The pilot contacted the Denpasar Airport tower reporting he had two sick passengers on board and requested permission for an emergency landing. The two passengers were brought to the BIMC Hospital after they were disembarked from the airplane.

 

The airport was earlier informed that two passengers were running amuck on the flight. 

 

A third male passenger, believed to be intoxicated, became agitated and aggressive towards the flight crew saying heunhappy at the flight’s diversion to Bali. A decision was made to disembark the angry passenger who was put on a Singapore Airline flight departing at 8:00 pm.

 

Scoot issued a statement regarding the third passengers saying, “The captain off loaded the man because he was deemed to be a threat to the safety of the aircraft and passengers.”

 

Canvassing for Drug Sales

Balinese Man Arrested for Trying to Smuggle Narcotics through the Postal System

 

Bali Customs officers at Bali’s Ngurah Rai Airport have defeated an effort to smuggle 715 grams of methamphetamines with an estimated street value of Rp. 1.43 billion (US$124,000).

 

The narcotics were concealed in a parcel containing a painting sent through the postal service.

 

Beritabali.com quoting Made Wijaya, the head of the Ngurah Rai Customs office who said on Friday, May 16, 2104: “The narcotics were placed behind a painting sent from South Africa to an address in the district of Kerobokan Kelod, North Kuta in the regency of Badung.”

 

Customs officials have taken into custody a man named I Nyoman Saputra who is charged with owning the drugs sent by parcel post. Saputra said he bought the drugs from a man in South Africa with plans to distribute the drugs in Bali.

 

The State News Agency Antara lists Saputra’s address in Bali as Jalan Kosambi, Pondok Rahayu, Banjar Kancil, Kerobokan, Kuta Utara, Kabupaten Badung.

 

Saputra had reportedly used an alternate address of a nephew to receive the parcel in order elude capture by law enforcement officials.

 

The drugs were found when custom officials x-rayed the package on Wednesday, May 14, 2104. The drugs, wrapped in foil, were concealed in the back of the painting.

 

Prosecutors can now charge Saputra as a drug distributor with a maximum penalty of death before a firing squad and a fine of Rp.10 billion (US$870,000).

 

Being Shown the Door in Bali

Bali Immigration Deport 22 Foreigners in Q1 2014

 

Bali Daily (The Jakarta Post) reports that the Bali Immigration office has officially deported 22 foreigners during Q1 of 2014 for violation of the law.

 

Bambang Wisnu Wardhana of the Immigration office said 16 of the 22 deported were connected with arrests made in 2013 with the remaining 8 people connected to arrests made in 2014.

 

Wardhana said his office is understaffed with only 6 officers to deal with the task of monitoring foreigners in five regencies and one municipality of Bali.

 

Bali immigration is seeking assistance in monitoring foreign visitors by enlisting assistance from the Bali Police and the Bali Provincial Tourism Office.

 

The most recent deportation involved to Australian Journalists covering the Schapelle Corby parole process without the proper immigration documents.

 

Bali’s Vanishing Agricultural Sector

Udayana University Expert Warns that the Destruction of Bali's Agricultural Sector Heralds the End of Bali's Overall Progress

 

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has declared Bali’s subak water irrigation system a world heritage site.

 

Despite such international recognition, the centuries-old subak system in Bali is threatened with destruction, as farmers are increasingly selling their farmlands to be converted by their new owners to other non-agricultural uses.

 

The head of the Subak Research Center at Bali’s Udayana University, I Wayan Windia, said that special international recognition for Bali’s terraced rice fields fed by the subak irrigation system is inadequate in Bali's current situation without an accompanying form of appreciation given to the farmers who toil in these fields.

 

The declining role of the subak in Balinese society is made all the more tragic given the traditional role of the subak, seen as “mother” to all sectors of development in Bali. If Bali agricultural roots are destroyed, Windia maintains, that Bali’s culture is also then soon doomed for destruction, paving the way for the destruction of development as a whole on the island.

 

The agricultural sector experienced negative growth of 2.84% in Q1 2014, based on data provided by the Bali Statistic Bureau (BPS).

 

In 2013 the agricultural sector still managed to grow around 2%, the slowest rate of growth among al sectors of the Balinese economy.

 

Windia sees the downturn in agriculture in Q1 2014 as signaling the coming decline in Bali’s development efforts unless steps are urgently taken to give faming and agriculture their proper place on the Island.

 

Total new investment in Bai is dominated to an overwhelmingly degree by tourism, representing 97 % of the whole. Meanwhile, agricultural investment amounts to only 0.5% of all new investments.

 

Taxes charged on agricultural land remains very high, financially burdening farmers and compelling them to sell their lands. Many irrigation channels are damaged - filled with trash and plastics, and with the originating source of water fought over by competing sectors of the economy amd community.

 

 

Hail Blue Bird Taxi in Bali on YourSmart Phone

Blue Bird Taxi On Line Booking Application in Bali

 

Indonesia’s leading taxi and transportation company – the Blue Bird Group has introduced a mobile application that promises to make hailing a taxi in Bali a less burdensome task than in the past.

 

After the introduction and trial operation of the same system in the greater Jakarta metropolitan area, Medan and Semarang – Blue Bird Group has extended their Taxi Mobile Reservation System to Bali commencing May 14, 2014

 

Using an Android, IPone, Blackberrry, Windows 8 and Nokia Ash applications - the new system allows both visiting tourists and local residents in Bali to hail a taxi via their smart phones. 

 

Those wishing to use one of the five applications listed only need to perform a free download via www.bluebirdgroup.com/mobile or via the social network on Facebook  or Twitter at @bluebirdgrouop

 

The new application using Global Positioning Systems (GPS) allows immediate confirmation in the form of a taxi number and a map showing the current location of your taxi in relation to your current position.

 

Day to Remember; A Video Worth Watching

Bali Remembers – Pan Am 812 Ceremony Video Now on You Tube

 

A ceremony was held on April 22, 2014, at the Pan Am Monument in Padang Galak, Sanur, Bali, Indonesia to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the crash of a Boeing 707 in North Bali that claimed the lives of 107 people. 

 

The master of ceremonies for the day was Mr. Anak Agung Gede Rai, the former CEO of the Bali Tourism Development Corporation. Mr. Rai also served in the same capacity 40 years ago at the inauguration of the monument by the Government of Bali.

 

Also attending the event were Scott Moser the grandson of Captain Donald Zinke, and Kathleen and Aileen Keating the daughters of Edward Keating, a Flight Engineer on Pan Am 812. 

 

Performing at the ceremony were:

 

•Mr. Anton Mirzaputra a member of the well-known singing group Jamaica Café” and the subject of the documentary “Tanpa Batas” (No Limits)  available on YouTube.

•The Narwastu Art Community Gamelan Group 

•The Bali Community Choir directed by Brendon O’Donnell 

•Ricky Pare singing the closing “Lilin Lilin Kecil” (Small Candles) at the closing with the Bali Community Choir 

 

Sincere thanks to film maker Douchan Gersi who generously filmed the event and edited the video so surviving family members of those who died on Pan Am 812 can view the ceremony.

 

The Official Program Book is available on line.

 

The commemoration ceremony was made possible through the generous support of:

Conrad Bali Resor

 BIMC Hospitals 

Siloam Hospitals 

Vision 1 

Bali Advertiser 

Mr. FixIt 

 

The event was organized by Bali Discovery Events under the coordination of Katrin Widodo and Andreas Samuel. 

 

Halal Hello’s

Indonesia to Host International Conference on Islamic Tourism in Jakarta June 2-3, 2014

 

Jakarta will play host to the first international forum on Islamic Tourism held by the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) scheduled to take place in Jakarta June 2-3, 2014.

 

The decision to allow Indonesia and Jakarta to convene the conferences was taken at a meeting of tourism ministers of OIC held in Banjul, Gambia last December where a decision was made to take steps to further develop sharia tourism in member countries.

 

Sapta Nirwandar, deputy minister of the Ministry for Tourism and the Creative Economy says sharia tourism is bound to grow with the world’s Muslim population expected to each 2.2 billion – a number equal to 26.4% of the global population by 2030.

 

Sharia tourism focuses on presenting “halal” experiences for vacationing Moslems. In the Middle East this reflects local laws and regulations with hotels that do serve alcohol; and provide separate swimming, spa and sports facilities for males and females.

 

To what degree Indonesian tourism destinations will embrace saharia tourism concepts how enthusiastically they will sought after by Moslems from Indonesia and abroad remains to be seen.

 

Too Much a Good Thing

Bali Villas Complain Occupancy Rates are Down by 20%

 

Both commercial villas and hotels are experiencing declining occupancy rates, despite  record number of foreign tourist arrivals to Bali.

 

As reported by The Bali Post, the chairman of the Bali Villa Association (BVA), Mangku Wayan Sutedja, says occupancies at villas in Bali are down by as much as 20% when compared to 2013.

 

“This means that the amount of  tourism accommodation in Bali continues to grow and visitors (to Bali) must now be shared. Last year in 2013, the occupancy of villas averaged around 70%, but now occupancies are averaging between 40-60%,” said Sutedja.

 

This downturn in business has taken place during Q1 of 2014 when foreign tourist arrivals increased 14.87%. This anomaly can only be explained by declining domestic arrivals, shorter lengths of stays and a severe over-supply in accommodation.

 

Steadfastly buoyant despite the drop in occupancies, Sutedja said: “Our membership stands at 128 villas. There are many couples and honeymooners to Bali still using villas as their accommodation.”

 

The BVA has proposed a grading system to the government for villas in Bali via a ranking-system of silver, gold and diamond certification.

 

Silver classification is for establishments with only one bedroom, one bathroom, a garden and essential services.

 

Gold certification would be given to villas with additional facilities such as a swimming pool, kitchen, a management office and services that approach those provided by hotels

 

Diamond certification would be reserved for villas with 16 or more units serviced by a swimming pool for each villa, a general pool, restaurant, a lobby and other services similar to a five-star hotel. 

 

Sutedja said standardization is very important to Bali’s villa industry as 2015 draws near with liberalized standards of trade between ASEAN member nations.

 

The BVA is hoping for a response from the government on its proposal for villa standardization and classification by June 2014.

 

Paying More to Sail Around Indonesia

PT PELNI Increases inter-island Indonesian Passenger Tariff by 15%

 

NusaBali reports that the economy class fare for inter-island passenger ships operated by the State-owned PT PELNI increased by about 15% on Thursday, May 15, 2014.

 

The CEO of PT PELNI, Syarhril Japarin announced the increase saying: "the Company is not yet able to reduce its losses. Because of this, we feel the change in tariff is needed."

 

The passenger tariff on short routes such as Tanjung Priok (Jakarta) - Belawan (Medan) has increased from Rp. 346,000 to Rp. 408,000. On longer journeys such as Ambon - Pantoloan (Palu, Sulawesi) the fare has moved from Rp. 314,000 to Rp. 501,000.

 

PT PELNI said its growing losses are largely due to the increasing cost of fuel denominated in U.S. dollars against revenues generated in Indonesian Rupiahs. 

 

The Company claims their fixed costs have increased by 83%. The bulk of the shipping company's fixed costs is comprised of fuel costs (55%), followed by depreciation and maintenance costs.

 

Syahril promised the increase in passenger tariffs would be accompanied by improvement in the embarkation system and the manner in which tickets are sold to the public.

 

PT PELNI recently introduced on on-line method purchasing a ticket for its large fleet of passenger ships that crisscross the Indonesian archipelago.

 

Desertion at Sea

Captain of Ocean Express Dive Boat Being Tried for Negligent Homicide

 

Augustinus Brata Kusuma (30), the Captain of the MV Ocean Express is standing trial in Denpasar in connection with the death of two Japanese women near Nusa Penida during a diving expedition from his boat.

 

The diving boat captain is being charged under three counts of the criminal code for the negligent homicide of the two women. 

 

Prosecutors have told the court how on Tuesday, May 13, 2014, the deaths happened in connection with the order for a ship transportation from Yellow Scuba (PT Jaya Sentana) to bring a group of five female Japanese divers to a dive spot near Nusa Penida island, off Bali's southeastern coast. 

 

Augustinus and his crew were assigned by the owner of the Ocean Express to bring the divers on the desire dive trip.

 

"In the course of doing their dives, the Japanese were accompanied by two Japanese dive instructors Furokawa Saori and Shoko Rakahashi," the prosecutor told the Court. 

 

He went on to explain that upon arriving at the desired dive spot at Manta Point on Nusa Penida, that was followed by a visit to a second dive spot at Crystal Bay. Each dive lasted for about 45 minutes. The group then moved on to a third dive site near the Sakenan mangrove at Nusa Lembongan where the Japanese dive instructor told the captain to meet the group at Blue Corner where they would re-emerge at the end of the dive. 

 

Evidence presented to the court says the five divers and two instructors cut short their planned 45-minute dive to just 30-minutes when the group encountered strong underwater currents. The prosecutor continued, "When they resurfaced, the Captain failed in his responsibility to wait for the group of Japanese divers but had left the area to buy more fuel from a depot at Nusa Lembongan."

 

When the Japanese group of divers emerged on the surface,  the MV Ocean Express was nowhere to be seen. The women joined hands in order to remain united until the dive boat returned. At the same time, the two instructors inflated orange-colored "sausages" to increase their visibility in the rolling seas.

 

Staying afloat and holding on to each other throughout the night, one of the instructors, Furokawa Saora, tried without success to swim to a passing boat managing instead to make it a nearby shore late that afternoon.

 

The remaining six divers floated and hung on to each other for nearly 24-hours becoming separated by the incessant waves. Two divers - Miyata Ritsuko and instructor Shoko Takahashi went missing while the remaining four divers were eventually rescued by on February 16 and 17 by Search and Rescue officers from the Water Police. 

 

Miyata Ritsuko's lifeless body was found near Serangan Island on February 18, 2014 while Shoko Takahashi's body was found one week later floating off the coast of East Java near Blitar.

 

The trial of Captain Agustinus Brata Kusuma continues in Denpasar. The Indonesian Captain is unable to afford a lawyer and is mounting his own defense in the case.

 

Grandpa, How Could You?

84-year Old Man Caught with 2.5 kilogram of Methamphetamines at Bali's Airport

 

On Friday, May 16, 2014, an 84-year-old grandfather was captured by Bali Customs officials trying to smuggle 2.5 kilograms of methamphetamines off a Malindo Air flight from Kuala Lumpur. 

 

The smuggler, Arsain Bin Anwar, has been turned over by Customs officer to the narcotic division of the Bali police.

 

The man was caught when X-ray were made of his suitcase and a backpack carried by the man. 

 

Anwar who told officials he worked for 27 years as a car washer in Malaysia. He said that the narcotics were given to him by a friend and neighbor from Sampang, Madura who paid him 200 Ringgit, The elderly man claimed he had no knowledge to the content of the packages he was carry at his friend's request.

 

Police suspect another man on the same flight, identified only by the initial "R", was traveling on the same flight  to monitor Anwar's movements. Investigators postulate that "R" immediately informed an entire drug syndicate when the old man and drugs were seized by Customs officials.

 

The old man may now be charged as a distributor under Indonesia's tough anti-narcotics laws and, based on the large quantity of drugs involved he could be sentenced to death before a firing squad.

 

Police and the national narcotic squad continue to investigate the case.

 

Blowing in the Wind

Sudden Wind Storm Causes Property Damage in Sanur, Bali

 

A series of small tornado-like whirlwinds (angin puting beliung) struck areas on Sanur late on the night of Monday, May 12, 2014 causing damage over a wide area, including Sanur, Banjar Semawang and the village of Sanur Kuah.

 

The head of the rehabilitation and reconstruction section of Denpasar Disaster Alleviation Agency (BPBD-Denpasar), I Made Prapta, told NusaBali that 10 households suffered damage in the Blanjong Community, Sanur Kauh; 20 households in Semawang and 3 places of business. 

 

"Mostly the damage occurred to roofing tiles with damage ranging from 10 tiles to hundreds of tiles. We are inventorying the damage to determine the amount of assistance we will provide," said Prapta.

 

Meanwhile, community and religious leaders see a deeper, more spiritual meaning to Bali's changing weather patterns and the most recent windstorm that ravaged parts of otherwise peaceful Sanur. 

 

When Sanur fisherman Mangku Dalem Semawa was asked to comment, he replied: "Ten keni antuk, sawireh alam sampun usak" (the weather can no longer be predicted because nature is damaged).

 

Mangku Dalem Semawa suggested that according to local folklore, the strong winds in Sanur were also connected with the missing body of a young Balinese man swept out to sea the day before at Gumicik beach in nearby Ketewel. "Every time someone floats away, the sea becomes angry. After they find the body the seas will quiet down," he said.

 

The body of the missing Balinese youth was recovered by Search and Rescue officers late on Tuesday, one day after the storm,

 

Semawa said he was thankful that none of the Sanur fishing community were at sea on the evening of the storm, explaining: "When someone's body has drifted out to sea, this is what happens. Our fishermen won't go to sea because the nature conditions are not good, as they normally are."

 

Semawa together with fellow fishermen of Sanur teamed up to help clean up fallen branches, leaves and roofing tiles around Sanur on the morning after the wind storm.

 

A Failure to Control

Denpasar Officials Make Fledgling Efforts to Control Illegal Building Projects

 

The Denpasar Housing and Zoning Agency (DTRP) report that during the month of April 2014 a total of 72 structures lacking building permits (IMB) or standing in no-build green zones (jalur hijau) have received between one and three formal warning letters.

 

An official of the DTRP-Denpasar, Dewa Made Wesnawa Wedagama, said 95% of the those receiving warnings were for failure to obtain the required IMB with the remainder violating green zone areas, set backs from waterways and set backs from other buildings. Most of the violations were for private homes and residences.

 

Wedagama pleads that inadequate staff resources prevent his department from exercising effective control.

 

An earlier sweep conducted by the DTRP in March netted nearly 60 buildings in violation of the law and several building being erected in green zones were stopped and handed to the regencies enforcement unit (Satpol PP).

 

The Bali Post alleges that many building in Denpasar lack an IMB with government officials reluctant ot unable to take action because of the backing of high ranking officials for such projects.

 

Unwanted Neighbors

Nismara Hotel Project in Kerobokan, North Kuta, Bali Spawning Protest from Neighborhood

 

The construction of the four-storey Nismara Hotel on Jalan Uma Alas in Kerobokan, North Kuta has been the source of many complaints from neighbors surrounding the project.

 

Local residents are complaining that three deep wells of a depth of 100-meters each created by the Nismara Hotel have caused the water of local residents to become murky and polluted, raising concerns that the hotel project is over-exploiting the local water table.

 

Citizens are also complaining that the structure and superstructure of the hotel impinges on share alleyways (gang) complicating free movement around the perimeter of the project. Recent rains, moreover, caused one of the walls of the hotel to crumble, causing panic for local residents.

 

Wayan Derno, a neighbor to the project quoted in Radar Bali said the hotel is built on leasehold land held for 30-years, Derno claims that the building permit approved for the project was limited to a villa, but a four-story hotel is being built instead in seeming violation to the IMB. 

 

Derno said that project has also failed to obtain the required "adjoining permission" (izin penyanding) where all adjoining property owners must state their written acceptance of the project before building can commence. "As an adjoining neighbor have never been asked for my signature. Among all my neighbors, no one has been asked to give adjoining permission," Derno complained.

 

Derno is calling on licensing and zoning officials to investigate the hotel project.

 

When the district chief for Kerobokan Kelod, Made Westawan was contacted by Radar Bali he said he was unaware of any complaints from the public and could not recall if his office had issued the needed recommendation for an IMB. He told the press he could also not recall if any complaint had been filed in connection with the project.

 

Westawan promised to look into the matter and visit the project site.

 

Danger After Dark in Bali

Purse Snatching in Denpasar Results in Death of an 18-year-old South Korean Woman

 

A purse-snatcher operating along Jalan Teuku Umar Barat  in Denpasar in the early hours of Saturday, May 17, 2014, has caused the death of a young South Korean woman and serious injuries to another girl from Germany.

 

The latest attack adds to a pattern of concerning criminal attacks, many directed at women, occurring in Bali’s main tourist areas.

 

Three young women riding on two motorbikes were returning from an evening out in Seminyak at 2:00 am on Saturday morning when a man, who apparently had been following the women since they passed the Kerobokan prison, came along side and grabbed the bag of the pillion passenger, Kim Eun Sol (19). In the ensuing struggle over the hand bag, the South Korean fell off the back of the motorbike driven by her friend Amy Fitria Sidharta (18) of Germany. The South Korean tumbled into the oncoming lane of traffic where another motorcycle driven by Gede Bagia (27) struck the woman in head, killing her instantly.

 

Sidharta also fell from her bike and suffered bruises and contusion, as did the driver of the oncoming motorcycle - Gede Bagia

 

The second motorcycle carrying a third girl and friend of Kim and Sidharta went on for some distance before she noticed the two girls were no longer following. Only when the third girl returned in search of her two friends she discovered the grisly crime scene.

 

According to the State News Agency Antara, Kim Eun Sol had recently graduated from Taman Mahatma Gandhi High School in Denpasar and was planning to continue her studies in Bali

 

Police continue to investigate the fatality.

 

Not the Right Sort of Welcome to Bali

Editorial: Shenanigans at Bali's Airport Underline the Need for Serious Change to fix Negative First Impressions in Bali

 

A travel expert once said that the experience of arriving at airport is a pretty accurate representation of the travel experience awaiting a visitor beyond the airport's doors.

 

If that proposition is correct, then Bali is in serious trouble.

 

We're sharing pictures sent by one our readers taken when he arrived one evening last week at Bali's Ngurah Rai Airport. The pictures speaks for themselves, together with reports of waiting times of as much as two-hours or more to make it through the customs and immigration process. 

 

Making matters worse and creating an even more negative impression of ineptitude and preying corruption are reports that officials and middlemen are actively circulating and working these crowds offering "VIP express visa service" through immigration and customs for a whispered "special" fee of Rp. 750,000 - a figure roughly three time the VIP service available to by prior arrangement.

 

Because of these offers for "faster service for a fee" many Bali visitors have the impression that these long lines at immigration are part of a larger conspiracy, purposely designed to extrot tourists to shell out extra money in addition to their $25 visa-on-arrival fee. 

 

If the experience at Bali's airport reflects what lies ahead on a Bali visit, then the message for visitors seems abundantly clear: it's all about victimization and how much money you're prepared to pay 

 

This unfortunate situation is further enforced by aggressive luggage porters who try to hold luggage trollies ransom while steadfastly refusing to accept the published porterage tariff of Rp.5,000 per bag.

 

Extorters love company and predators rule the roost during Bali's year-long open season on tourists.

 

While there is a legitimate need for "express service" through immigration for VIPs, the diabled, elderly, important business visitors, heads of conference delegations and others -  the "express service" should be done on a more professional and transparent basis at a published rate to prevent the shameful charade now taking place on a daily basis at Bali's main gateway.

 

One suggestion put forth is for the "express-visa-service" to be handled by a foundation. No part of any extra fees should accrue to any airport officials and the proceeds should be transparently accounted and paid to local charities. At the very least, this would remove the current sordid impression that visiting tourists are viewed as "easy marks" for unscrupulous officials in search of an extra "unofficial"  income.

 

In the past, the sort of ciriticism we level here today has been greeted by mean-spirited officials who respond by suspending the" VIP express visa service" and implement  a retaliatory slow down of counter service.

 

The lesson offered: Question the way brutes exercise their power and be prepared for petulance served up by the bucketful.

 

Welcome to Bali. We still believe the Island beyond the airport is worth the wait.

 

© Bali Discovery Tours. Articles may be quoted and reproduced if attributed to http://www.balidiscovery.com.

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