Scam. Nay. Extortion at Jakarta airport!!
He left very early Sunday morning, while I had taken the flight back to Sydney the night prior. As he was flying out to Penang, there was only one very very early morning flight.
He got to the airport, checked in, and was alerted by airline staff that he seem to not have his departure card. He duely filled in a new form and proceeded to Immigration.
This was where the drama began. The officer made a lot of noise about him having 'lost' his Departure card, proceeding to tell him it was a criminal offense. BLAH! of course its important, but we all have made that mistake before, and as long as you have the arrival stamp in your passport, and can prove you entered the country legally, it really should not be such a big deal.
Well, not to these unscrupulous immigration officers (by then the guy that was dealing with my brother had created enough commotion to draw other officers to the counter - I believe its their intimidation strategy). The airport was almost empty, devoid of any other witnesses. Anyhow, they proceeded to threaten my brother with jail term, talking about taking him to the police station and holding him there. While he knew he wouldnt really go to jail for such a trivial mistake, he also knew these guys would hold him at the airport long enough to make him miss his flight.
They then started talking about how they can "HELP" him. RIGHT, help! The nerve they have! Im sure you know the rest. We can help you, but its a serious offense, we will need some money to get this done. blah blah blah.
In his tired state, and wanting to just get out of there, my brother gave them whatever Rupiah he had left on him (which in itself was a fair bit), but made the mistake of not thinking straight, and overlooking the fact that there was also USD in his wallet. So turned out to be a very expensive trip to Jakarta for him!
If he had realised how much money it ended up being, I figure he would have opted to miss the flight. Getting a new ticket would have been cheaper, and certainly less maddening than having to part with so much money for these unscrupulous type!
I know theres nothing that we can really do anymore. Complaining to the Consulate will achieve nothing. HOwever, I do hope to spread the word out as much as possible, so Im hoping my friends that read this blog post will help me spread the word around.