For some people, when they are caught out or get told no, they get mad. How mad? How about facing six months in jail for slapping a government official mad.
This is the possible destiny of one British tourist who decided the best way to pay a fine was to assault the man just doing his job. However, let’s examine the facts and then let our reader decide if the punishment fits the crime.
What is the story?
A British tourist, Auj-e Taqaddas, flew from Europe to Bali for some time in the sun. She seemed to enjoy it so much that she ended up staying in the tropical island destination 160 days over her visa. Tourists arriving in Bali from many destinations can simply purchase a 30 or 60-day visa for around $30 USD. However, officials in the country are very strict when those same tourists decide to overstay, and may not allow them to leave until they have paid the difference.
In this scenario, it seems the forty-two-year-old woman was attempting to leave the country when she was stopped by outgoing customs. They examined her passport and realized that her visa was overdue and she owed the local government a fee.
This fee was calculated to be around $3,500 USD (£2,701) and would need to be paid. In the meantime, the official would hold onto her passport.
This did not seem fair to the tourist, and during discussions, she became increasingly irritated. She eventually decided to attempt to snatch the passport of the official, and when he resisted she slapped him in the face. She was restrained and charged with violence against an officer.
She was bailed out of the local police station and failed to attend a few set court dates, and was unreachable until local law enforcement tracked her down to enact the warrant. She was found guilty of her crime and sentenced to six months behind bars.
Ms. Taqaddas claims that she has been tortured and that ‘they’ (The Indonesian Balinese prosecution) are forcing her to remain in the country. The police have denied such allegations. She has since appealed the sentence.
Part of the amazing ability of air travel is to expose you to a range of new cultures and destinations. However, this comes at a cost. A cost of respecting the local authorities and how they run their homeland. Sometimes things can seem a bit unreasonable, like a large fine for a minor crime, but it is not in any casual foreigners place to argue against it.
In this specific case, we at Simple Flying would have recommended that Ms. Taqaddas simply do a visa run (leaving and returning to the country to reset the visa), be sponsored by a local company (and not have a time limit) or apply for a different visa that has different restrictions.
But to get such a large fine for a rule that you might not be aware of is a little tough. After all, why not just ban her and deport her? In the end, it’s up to the tourist to understand the rules and regulations of every country. As for being tortured and it being unfair, I’m sure if we asked Ms. Taqaddas, she might have different feelings if a Balinese person overstayed in her hometown in Briton.
What do you think? Does the punishment fit the crime?