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Bali Airport Fingerprinting to Boost Security, Lines

By: Made Arya Kencana Posted: April-17-2010 in
Made Arya Kencana

Bali Airport Fingerprinting to Boost Security, Lines

Denpasar. Longer lines of inbound tourists are expected at Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport with mandatory fingerprint scanning now in full force.

“We chose Bali for this new system because it’s one of the major gateways into the country,” Rohadi Iman Santoso, head of the immigration office’s subdirectorate for information-systems implementation, said on Friday at the office of airport operator PT Angkasa Pura I in Badung district.

The system, aimed at stepping up security, will only be used on foreign nationals entering the country on short-stay visas. Rohadi said other foreigners with temporary (Kitas) or permanent (Kitap) residence permits would not need to be fingerprinted because they were already documented.

Others exempt from the system include holders of diplomatic passports and children under the age of 14.

Short-stay visitors will also be photographed at the airport’s immigration counter, a process that Rohadi said would only take up to two minutes “to minimize their discomfort.”

But he said the implementation of the new system meant that there would be longer lines at immigration counters. “We’ve also informed all airlines about the new requirement so they can adapt as necessary,” he added.

Heru Legowo, general manager of Angkasa Pura’s Ngurah Rai office, said the fingerprint scanners had been set up at 10 of 24 immigration counters at the airport. “We’ve trained several of our officials on how to use the scanners,” he said.

Ngurah Rai is the fourth airport in the country to adopt the fingerprinting system, after Jakarta, Yogyakarta and Solo.

“Even though it was only recently rolled out, the system proved a success when we managed to catch four Afghan nationals carrying fake travel documents,” Rohadi said.

He added 21 other airports were in line to get the new system by July, as well as five seaports and the Entikong land crossing on the Indonesia-Malaysia border.

Though the new measure will impact on tourists, Surya Dharma, a spokesman for the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, said he had not heard about the biometrics screening equipment installed at Ngurah Rai.

Ngurah Wijaya, head of Bali’s tourism board, said he was also unaware of the new system.

“I don’t know exactly about the machine; the immigration office has not given me any information about it,” he said. “So we don’t know about the purpose of those tools. For me, it just makes additional work because the function is unclear.”

Aside from Indonesia, countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain and the United States use biometric systems.

Source: The Jakarta Globe


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