Image: Benoa Square without the buses. Credit: benoasquarebali.com
A joint team of Bali Province and Badung District Municipal Police (Satpol) set out to inspect several Chinese stores in Kuta on Wednesday. They inspected the stores that were suspected to be involved in cheap tourism packages to Chinese tourists, using WeChat Pay/ barcode for transactions and hiring foreign workers.
The Satpol police were trying to inspect the same stores that were checked by Bali’s Vice Governor last Thursday, but when they arrived they found several stores were closed. It was suspected that they already knew that the police were on the way.
The joint team consisted of Bali Province Municipal Police, Badung District Municipal Police, the Head of Denpasar Immigration, Ida Bagus Made Suwanita and a team from the Ministry of Trade.
The team started the inspection on 10am at Empress Jewellery on Jalan Dewi Sri, Kuta. The store sells expensive jewelry and shopkeeper, Rosmini, showed a photo of the store soft opening, which was attended by Ny Ayu Pastika, who was the former Head of Bali Region Craft Board.
“I am just a shop assistant here. The owner, Susilowati is in Jakarta,” she said. Rosmini denied that they used WeChat barcode as the payment method. They only use Rupiah for payments and she also said that all of the shop assistants are local.
When she was asked about the permit, she couldn’t show the Building Construction Permit (IMB) and she only showed the business permit. Then the team asked her to sign an official report and asked her to come to Badung Municipal Police Office to complete the permits.
Then the joint team inspected Kalimanta on Jalan Sunset Road. This store sells Chinese herbal medicines and all of the shop assistants could speak Chinese. When the team arrived, they asked the customers to leave the premises. One of the shopkeepers said police took the ID card from one of the Chinese customer’s neck as they arrived.
The shop assistants told police that they didn’t know who owned the store. “This store is big, but not one of you knows the owner of the store. Who is your supervisor?” asked the Head of Bali Province Municipal Police, I Made Sukadana, one of the leaders of the inspection team.
The store didn’t have the operation permit since it opened three years ago.
The team said that they will investigate the situation further. One of the shopkeepers said to nusabali.com that there are several Chinese shop assistants normally there, but they were given a holiday yesterday.
Then they moved to Althenba at Benoa Square Complex on Jalan By Pass Ngurah Rai, Kedonganan. The manager of Benoa Square Complex, I Made Sumasa, said that the owner of the complex is Tommy Soeharto. He also said that Althenba’s owner is a Chinese investor. Althenba manager, Sarbin, said that the store was not open yet. He also said that he is ready to complete all permits. Meanwhile, Mahkota, which was inspected by Bali Vice Governor on Jalan By Pass Ngurah Rai, Kedonganan, was closed and the name of the store has been changed to Lisa Gemstone.