Illegal immigrants escape, police beef up hotel security
Some of the 95 Middle Eastern illegal immigrants arrested by the Bali Police’s water police directorate on Sunday have escaped from the hotels where they were being detained.
“Yes, some of them ran away, but we do not know the exact number,” said Saroha Manulang, head of Information and Communication at the Denpasar Immigration Office.
He admitted that a lack of security had resulted in the escapes, saying the police had started to deploy more personnel to safeguard the hotel on Jl. Tukad Barito since Tuesday.
The immigrants were initially moved to three hotels: Hotel Oka and Hotel Warta on Jl. Diponegoro, and Hotel Barito on Jl. Tukad Barito. They were detained there due to the detention house for illegal immigrants in Jimbaran being overcapacity.
Currently, a total of 27 immigrants are being detained in Hotel Barito and detention rooms at Denpasar Immigration Office.
After questioning, it was revealed that they are part of an illegal immigrant group staying in Cisarua, Bogor in West Java.
Hossin, a 31-year-old Iranian admitted he was transferred from Cisarua to Bali on his way to Australia.
Hossin and his 25-year-old wife, Sami, entered Indonesia through Soekarno Hatta International Airport on January 15. They were then brought to a villa in Cisarua by someone identified as Amir and stayed there for four months.
According to Hossin, Amir asked for US$15,000 to provide the couple with daily needs during their stay in Indonesia and to pay for the flight to Bali.
Hossin said he had never met Amir, only communicating with him by phone.
He could not remember the date he arrived on the island. “I think it’s been two weeks or so,” he said.
From Ngurah Rai International Airport, he and his wife were brought to a villa. “But I don’t know where it is. We never went out. We were locked up in the villa,” he said, adding that all their daily needs had been provided.
They spent their days waiting until someone called saying they could finally head to Australia by boat.
“A car came to pick us up and bring us to a boat,” he said.
He and his wife were asked to pay a total of $11,000 as a guarantee that they would arrive safely in Darwin.
“We were heading to Darwin, not Christmas Island,” he added.
However, the boat was stopped by the police around one nautical mile off Benoa on Sunday.
Despite the arrest, he remains determined to go to Australia, saying he would never go back to his home country.
“I’m Arabic, born in Iran, but I never want to return there.”
In Iran, Hossin worked as a helicopter technician with a monthly salary of $280, insufficient for the couple. His wife, an accountancy school graduate, did not work.
He took side jobs to be able to cover their daily expenses, including trading in cars and gold.
However, he claimed it was not financial difficulties that forced him to leave Iran, saying it was the situation in the country that made him uncomfortable.