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Legal Matters

Drugs, gambling and pornography are illegal. Two Australians were executed for narcotics offences in 2015, and foreign nationals continue to receive death sentences for drug crimes.

  • It is an offence to engage in paid work without a formal working permit.
  • Visa length of stay is strictly enforced; many a careless tourist has seen the inside of an immigration detention facility or paid large fines.
  • Corruption remains a fact of life. If you are pulled over for a dubious traffic infringement, be polite and respectful as the officer lectures you and then suggests an alternative to a trip to the police station and a courthouse date. Generally, 50,000Rp is plenty, but up to 500,000Rp may be demanded on Bali.
  • In the case of an accident involving serious injury or death, drive straight to the nearest police station as 'mob rule' can prevail, with blame falling on the foreigner.
  • If you need to report a crime, head to a police station in respectable dress with an Indonesian friend or interpreter in tow but don't expect much.
  • If you find yourself in serious trouble with the law, contact your embassy or consulate immediately. They will not be able to arrange bail but will be able to provide you with an interpreter and may be able to suggest legal counsel.