BEIJING: The Chinese embassy in Indonesia has accused local customs officials of targeting Chinese tourists and demanding they give them illicit “tips” at border controls.
The embassy published a post on its website advising Chinese tourists not to succumb to pressure to pay illegal tips to customs or other officials.
Indonesia has become a popular destination for Chinese tourists, with over 1.4 million visitors from the mainland travelling to the Southeast Asian nation last year, the embassy statement said.
Some Chinese tourists said Indonesian border officials made them pay tips ranging from 100 yuan (US$14.50) to 300 yuan, according to the Chongqing Times.
The officials work for a number of departments including customs, immigration at airports and the inspection and quarantine bureau, the report said.
The allegations were widely publicised in China last week after a video was posted online showing a mainland tourist who was forced to pay up 500 yuan at an Indonesian airport.
The man who posted the video said customs officials spotted him filming and interrogated him.
“They repeatedly interrogated me and sent me to the waiting room. They pushed me around and claimed that they would deny me entry,” he said.
The Chinese embassy in Indonesia said one of its staff had briefed officials at Indonesia’s national immigration office and Soekarno–Hatta International airport in Jakarta about the allegations.
The embassy has urged the Indonesian government to take immediate steps to stop the threats against Chinese tourists.
The Indonesian government said it would take the reports seriously, but added these were isolated cases, the embassy notice said.
This is not the first time Chinese tourists have been forced to hand over cash to border officials while travelling. Chinese government officials have also discussed the issue with Vietnam and Cambodia.
The Chinese embassy in Vietnam said in February it was highly concerned after a Chinese tourist was beaten by customs officials for refusing to pay tips.
The embassy said in a notice it had demanded the Vietnamese authorities investigate the incident and apologise to the tourist. – South China Morning Post