Begpackers attracting attention across Asia and how do authorities respond

dafluff

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An article on ABC.net.au covers the blight of people that beg from people who are objectively much poorer than them.

I hate begpackers. The worst part is that they take advantage of a generous people, who are actually much poorer than they are.

A lot of the blame needs to be placed on governments who in search of ever increasing tourist arrival numbers have thrown out all visa requirements.

"Do they realise how much we have to spend just to get visas to visit their countries? And here they are parading themselves as needy in a context where poverty really means living in sub-human conditions," Nash Tysmans, a Filipina community worker told the ABC.

 

R Cameron

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A lot of the blame needs to be placed on governments who in search of ever increasing tourist arrival numbers have thrown out all visa requirements.
What would you propose? It seems to me the current laws about working and visa overstays already adequately cover these people.

I have never seen this in person, but I probably don't frequent the places these people would go. Is it truly an endemic problem or are we talking about a couple dozen people out of the many millions of tourists? If that's the case, just arrest them for their legal violations and deport them. They'll be on the black list and won't be able to enter again.
 

dafluff

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What would you propose? It seems to me the current laws about working and visa overstays already adequately cover these people.

I have never seen this in person, but I probably don't frequent the places these people would go. Is it truly an endemic problem or are we talking about a couple dozen people out of the many millions of tourists? If that's the case, just arrest them for their legal violations and deport them. They'll be on the black list and won't be able to enter again.
I would propose reinstating visa requirements for the most offending countries, enforcement of proof of funds requirements at point of entry, and harsher punishment beyond deportation.

Arresting, investigating, deporting all require public resources to be spend on this.

Specifically for Indonesia, the overstay/deportation penalty rule where the penalty is no longer applicable beyond 60 days is hilariously bad law making.
 

R Cameron

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The article says the most offending nationalities are Australian, British, and Russian. If they imposed proof of funds requirements and it reduced tourism by 5%, how many billion (trillion?) Rupiah would be lost? It does require public resources to arrest and deport, but if it's only a handful per year, the expense is easily worth saving the tourism income.

The whole concept of 'begpackers' is totally offensive to productive members of society, so it makes for a good headline and maybe a good article. But I'm just not convinced it's an endemic problem, and if it's not, it's not worth disrupting the tourism industry to weed out a few (literally) bad apples.
 

Helpful Herbert

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I don't think poor locals would give money to a Westerner begging, so I wonder who is doing so (other tourists?). I haven't seen it myself here but I remember a couple of times 30 years ago in India and Thailand coming across Westerners begging for money "for their airfare back home", they were approaching other tourists. Also they participated in scams, such as diverting other Westerners to jewellry shops for a commission, but these days people have so much information about those kind of risks that I don't think those kind of scams happen much any more (online taxi services have removed alot of the opportunity for taxi driver-related scams).
Anyway, arrest and deportation seems like the best solution, maybe under the law about not working/earning money without a work permit?
 

dafluff

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The article says the most offending nationalities are Australian, British, and Russian. If they imposed proof of funds requirements and it reduced tourism by 5%, how many billion (trillion?) Rupiah would be lost? It does require public resources to arrest and deport, but if it's only a handful per year, the expense is easily worth saving the tourism income.
The thinking that "if we don't allow absolutely everyone in the country we will lose x dollars" needs to be re-examined.

The visa free waiver was introduced relatively recently. Previous to that, almost everyone entering Indonesia needed a visa, even if it was just a VoA.

Further, if a person's decision on entering Indonesia is based on whether they can afford VoA or not, how much can they really contribute to the local economy.

It boils down to the argument of quantity vs quality of incoming tourists...
 

R Cameron

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Further, if a person's decision on entering Indonesia is based on whether they can afford VoA or not, how much can they really contribute to the local economy.
It's not simply about the extra 35USD travel expense, it's about creating extra friction in the process, especially if you add a requirement to show bank statements. Even if it only affected tourism 1%, that's a huge amount of revenue lost, and it wouldn't necessarily even stop this supposed 'begpacker problem' because they could easily pay the small visa fee, show a qualifying bank balance, and still do their begging.

It boils down to the argument of quantity vs quality of incoming tourists...
I agree. I'm simply not convinced (but willing to be) that 'begpackers' are so common that changes should be made specifically to prevent that particular breed of scum. I would wager that for every 'begpacker' there are 1000+ bogans drunk driving their rental scooter with no helmet.
 

dafluff

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I agree. I'm simply not convinced (but willing to be) that 'begpackers' are so common that changes should be made specifically to prevent that particular breed of scum. I would wager that for every 'begpacker' there are 1000+ bogans drunk driving their rental scooter with no helmet.
I imagine that steps to reduce begpackers will actually overlap quite well with reducing bogans, so no argument from me...
 

Nimbus

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It's ridiculous, but since I assume that most beggars in Indonesia are scammers, it's not such a big outrage to me. Just another crook on the street, albeit light-skinned.
 

William King

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The paperwork is more than problem than the cost.

I also think the comment targeting countries than the people is problematic.
 

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