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My Traumatic Experience as an Alleged DRUG TRAFFICKER in Bali Indonesia
By Chyng Reyes

For first time readers, my name is Chyng Reyes.
I graduated with a degree of Electronics and Communications Engineering in a state university in Intramuros. I work in a BPO company in MoA complex as part of Systems Development team. I’m a blogger who frequently travels. And Im an individual who has never taken prohibited drugs.

My friend Dyanie and I planned an SG-Bali trip for our birthdays. We took Airphil’s Manila-SG flight last May 26, 2011.

Dyanie was held at Immigration simply because she couldn’t present her company ID. She was suspected na mag-paiwan sa SG to work, and never return to Pinas. This experience alone was heart pounding, though it’s only a matter of being approved and being declined to fly to SG. So what more if it’s a matter of life and death…

Last May 28, we flew from SG to Bali via Airasia.
Airasia’s airbus was full of different nationalities. But Dyanie and I were the only Filipinos on board. We landed in Denpasar airport at almost 11:40pm. We lined up at the X-ray machines for our luggage to be scanned.

The moment the officer saw my passport, he took my luggage. He asked me, “Is this yours?” I said yes.
What could be wrong with my luggage?
The officer scanned our hands too. We had any idea what for so we asked him. He answered “secret”.
After he scanned our hands with that stick, he looked at me and said “come and follow me.”
He looked to Dyan and said “you also.”

omg. what’s wrong?!

So in front of all passengers of Airasia that night (na malalaki ang katawan, at yung iba may tattoo, at sila pa yung mukhang harmful kesa samin), kami pa ni Dyan ang mukhang may drugs!
We followed the officer because we didn’t have a choice. We obeyed him, as if we already did something wrong.
All other passengers were staring at us.

syet.. anong meron sa bag ko? at anong marks ang nakita nya sa kamay namin? kinabahan ako. this isn’t just the usual immigration thing. this is something serious!

We entered the holding room. There were 3 officers inside: 2 males and a lady officer.
“Meet my Filipina friend. She was caught hiding packs of heroins in her luggage,” said the officer. Sabay turo sa picture frames sa wall nila. It seemed like a gallery of drug traffickers from all over the world.
He reminded me that DEATH is the PENALTY of those drug traffickers.

Paksyet. It’s matter of life and death in the hands of these Indonesian Police Officers.
They offered something to drink but we refused.

Yoko nga, baka dahil jan sa drinks na yan magkaron pa ng drugs substance sa katawan namin.

“Do you know her?” asked the officer as he was pointing to the girl in the picture frame.—I answered no.
“Did you take drugs?”—Of course not!
“Did you have drugs hidden in your body?”—What?! Never!

nagpanting yung tenga ko. galit na galit ako. at the same time nalungkot. bakit ganun, tagged na ang pinoys as drug traffickers dahil sa kasalanan ng iilan.

“Let’s check your bag”.
The officer searched my things thoroughly. I was just looking at him. He checked every compartment of my luggage too.

Ang lakas ng kaba ng dibdib ko. I knew he could frame me. At wala na kong laban if that happens. Nasa teritoryo nila kami. Ansama sama ng loob ko. Dahil lang Pinoy kami, instant suspect na agad kami.

After he messed with all my things and found nothing, I asked the officer what could be wrong and why was he checking us. He just answered “because the 2 of you are beautiful girls.”

putangina mo, nakikipag-cooperate kami sa inyo. naabala at napahiya na kami kanina pa. kaya sana sumagot ka ng maayos kung may tinatanong kami.

For the 3rd time, we went outside the holding room to scan my luggage. I was really very nervous (and irritated). I could imagine him almost saying that he found something in my bag. Remember, he was holding my bag all the time. I never had the chance to touch it again.

you dont trust us. and we dont trust you either. the feeling is mutual. ang advantage lang, nasa Indonesia tayo. at kayo ang may authority.

Now they looked to Dyan. The lady officer asked her if she was hiding drugs in her belly. Of course she answered no.
The other officer ordered a body check on her.

As narrated by Dyan:

Gusto ko man magsabi ng ayoko ng body check, wala akong nagawa. Bansa nila yan. So sunod lang ako sa gusto nila.
Pumasok kami sa Body Check Room. Inikot ko yung mata ko to check if there are surveillance cameras. Tapos ni-lock ko yung pinto.
Tinanong ko si lady officer kung bakit namin to ginagawa. May 3 pinay daw na nahulihan ng drugs sa loob ng tyan nila.
Sympre di ko alam kung totoo nga yun. Pinahubad nya ko ng damit. As in HUBAD lahat.
The only body part na hinawakan nya ay ang tyan ko. Pero nakaka-harassed pa din. Wala naman siyang nakitang kakaiba.

no offense pero meron ba silang extensive training na by just touching a body part malalaman na kung may drugs dun? ang hirap maniwala. they cant even speak straight english to start with.
mayabang lang sila. pero wala silang masyadong alam.

Now back in the holding room, and I was with the other 2 male officers. They started bragging that they captured all of the drug traffickers in the picture frame. Im still not sure what will happen next as they never told us anything.

What now!? gusto nyo lang may mapatunayan kayo at may madagdag kayong picture jan sa wall nyo?!

Im so proud of Dyan. She went back in the room and still didnt breakdown. I knew I would start crying too if I see her terrified.
pero sa totoong buhay daw, sobrang takot na siya na masesetup kami.
Dyan said I didn’t look scared at all too. I just look very irritated.
pero sa totoo lang, nafi-feel kong anytime sasabihin ng officers na may nakita sila sa bag namin.. at di na kami makakauwi ng Pinas.

After 1.5 hours, they finally let us go. Wala silang nakita.
They thanked us for being cooperative pero di ko pinansin yung hand shake offer nila. Galit na galit ako.
Pero alam ko bawal ako magsalita. Hindi rin sila nagsorry sa abala na ginawa nila. Para san pa, wala na kaming gana na pumasok ng Bali. Sirang sira yung bakasyon namin dahil sa ganitong pagwelcome nila sa Pinoy.
Sabagay their sorry won’t be enough. Kulang yan sa kahihiyan, sobrang takot, trauma, at paranoia na inabot namin dahil sa kanila. Ang sama sama ng loob ko. Putangina nyo!

We met the hotel driver who’d been waiting for us since 11:40PM. We finally went out of the airport at 1:30AM. I thanked the driver for waiting for us. He wasn’t surprised that we were the last to go out. Sabi nya, kapag Pinoy chinecheck daw muna.
Ah ganun.
Dahil lang may mga Pinoy na drug trafficker, lahat ng Pinoy drug traffickers na agad?!

Sa sobrang takot ni Dyanie, she cried to sleep that night. Tulala. Di nagsasalita.
Sa sobrang galit ko, di ako nakatulog. I started vomiting. Hinika din ako sa sama ng loob.
Wala pa kaming 2 oras sa Bali pero gustong gusto na namin umuwi ng Pinas. Sirang sira ang bakasyon namin.
Putangina nyo! Naging praning na kami everytime may police kaming makikita. Or everytime dadaan kaming xray, paulit ulit muna naming pinapagpag ang bawat damit namin – oras oras – just to check na walang naisingit na drugs sa gamit namin.
We’re so traumatized that we wont be planning to go out of the country anytime soon.

DEATH for DRUG TRAFFICKERS
and it wont matter if the DRUGS found is really yours
ako na ang praning

We swore not to go back to Indonesia again. We already suffered a lot. We regret the day we entered this country.
And if you are planning to go to Bali too, well good luck. The next suspect could be you.

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Guest

Grabe naman ang nangyare! So baseless yung check up nila?!?

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Guest

Whoa! not really a nice experienced from a country which is not so far “superior” to the Philippines. I just can’t understand why do they have to do their job in that manner? If they are “experts”, as what they claimed, they can do all their stuffs without being mean. I hope (and pray) that this won’t happen to me (crossing my fingers) as am planning to go to Bali this December. It would be my first vacation outside the Philippines so I’m trying to do some “background check” to set my expectation and see what are the things I… Read more »

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Botan1

I was in Bali in 2009.  No such problem with immigration and the locals were very friendly.  Perhaps its  just bad luck or negative karma on your part.

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Guest

..”Indonesian Ambassador Kristiarto Soeryo Legowo emphasized that the incident DOES NOT REFLECT THE POLICY OF INDONESIA, particularly “racial/ethnic profiling and stereotyping”. He requested that the Department convey to the 2 ladies the assurance that Indonesia is SERIOUSLY FOLLOWING UP THE MATTER with its concerned authorities…”

http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5261/5884466426_9f24d6d5e5_b.jpg

dear CV, please include the scanned letter in this post. thanks!
ps. paki-sampal yang statement ng ambassador sa mga nagmamarunong sa policy ng Indonesia ^_^

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Anonymous

Boycotting Indonesia is just wrong. The action of few immigration officers does not reflect what the whole country is. I’ve been to Indonesia multiple times and I have met a lot of Indonesians. They have a beautiful country with beautiful people. 

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Shamesky

I don’t know if i would still go in UMN in indonesia to study .
I am really afraid now, i still don’t know ..
My not to go percent is 75% and i will go study in umn is 25% . waaa
but thank you .. for letting me know and other filipino.

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Anon

this is not an isolated case. wag na tayo magjudge ng ibang country dahil d rin perfect ang philippines.  While reading the text, I find it funny that they would comment on the proficiency of the officers’ english… that’s sooo Filipino. What does that have to do with their ability to perform a full body search? They were not colonized by Americansanyway, racial profiling is being used everywhere. My Indonesian friend gets “detained” in customs and immigration here in the USA all the time. Arabs and middle eastern looking people are also being racially profiled everywhere all the time. I hope… Read more »

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Guest

i agree with you. so what if naka shorts and tsinelas? lilipad lang ng eroplano eh. maghuhubad ng sapatos. uupo sa plane for how long. we can’t choose to be comfortable? kung mga puti gumagawa nito, mabaho pa nga siguro kasi ni di pa naligo, will anyone say ano ba yan? sana konting decency. jeez… nakakainis ang ganyang pagiisip. di naman formal event ang pagsakay sa eroplano.

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Prisma_ed

Better be safe than sorry. I will avoid Indonesia.

E kung minalas ka, panu na? Its death penalty for drug offenders.

Are you willing to put your family in the ringer just to visit their beautiful beaches?

Di na! Dami ibang bansa dyan.

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nikka

sorry to hear about your experience 🙁 i had a similar encounter here in paris. i just came from amsterdam 9the news about the drug messengers just came out) and the undercover police surrounded me and interrogated me about bringing drugs and asking what i was doing even when i showed my student card 🙁 it was scary. let’s be careful next time. 

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Ivy_alvarez

That also happened to us in jogjakarta Indonesia. Ang friend ko inipit sya with her baggage ako naman they frisked me. Buti na Lang di ako pinaghubad. Halos sinisigawan na namin ang customs officer na gumawa sa min nito. They can’t explain why they were doing this. They even asked us what our plans were. We told them that we were on self-planned southeast Asian trip. Kala ba Nila mag ttnt kme sa lowly country Nila? One thing I’m proud to say sobrang ganda ng Pilipinas compared sa bansa Nila

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Guest

Oh I didn’t know this was posted here.  I just read that blog entry through someone’s Facebook post, and decided to write my OWN experience in Bali.  Wanted to share it here as for the longest time I thought it wasn’t linked to being Filipina at all.  Apparently, it is.  http://www.jademaravillas.com/?p=440

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costalescat

nakakatakot. as i have noticed other pinoys taking international flights, naka shorts and tsinelas lg while traveling, sana naman konting decency para hindi tayo ma discriminate. What happened to Chyng and Dyanie, traumatic talaga, i don’t know if kakayanin ko if i were in their shoe. By the way, Seaweed Fries in McDo, tapos na daw yung promo so wala na. Sayang atat na atat akong tumakbo sa McDo when we arrived here in SG yesterday 🙁 [Reply]CVS Reply:June 3rd, 2011 at 7:12 PMawwww….thanks for the info 🙁 [Reply]Ano ni moose Reply:June 3rd, 2011 at 11:42 PMHow is wearing shorts… Read more »

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Ano ni moose

How is wearing shorts and slippers indecent? There are many travellers who aren’t Pinoys don the same thing. I find it more indecent if someone wears a coat and tie ensemble whilst secretly packing drugs inside his luggage. Does that ring a bell? Sing-song. I meant, Ding-dong!

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Guest

I know that immigration has to be tough especially in these day and age, but sometimes they go to extreme. I have heard some horrendous stories from my friends. That’s why I haven’t been so inclined to visit developing countries run by a theocratic government. Not my cup of tea.

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Remski79

went to Bali last year. we were 20+ people (i think) and pinoy kaming lahat. i didn’t know these things happen to Pinoys in Bali…gosh, kaya pala the immigration officers during those times were rude! i mean i dunno maybe that’s really their nature na rude/strict whatever! coz yung 2 kasama namin sa group napagalitan because 2 of them went to 1 immigation officer (couple sila)… ayaw ata nila ng ganon, dapat isa lang.  medyo natagalan sila daming tanong tanong, i dunno what really happened basta i just saw them falling in line again sa pinaka likod ulit… basta nakaka… Read more »

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Guest

HI Chyng, I’ve experienced  harassment also last year too, but in Bintan naman. An immigration officer (his name is ADIT, I can still remember), took me to one room and told me that he’s not giving my passport back because he was accusing me that I was “jumping”  (jumping meaning, going to Indonesia to have my Singapore tourist visa extended). All I wanted to do was spend a day in Bintan with my friends and that’s it. I feel for you. It’s really hard to remain composed in that kind of situation. I had my friends with me too, but… Read more »

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Pia

I’m so sorry this happened to the two girls.  Lala and I went on our surf trip to Bali a week before them. The similarities are so alike… We both hold Philippine passports, we both came from Singapore, and we rode Air Asia as well. And we had no problems at all, they were pretty friendly to us actually.  As two girls exploring Bali by ourselves, Lala and I both felt very safe and were treated very nicely by the people of Bali.  If you’ve seen my pics in FB recently Cecile, I’m sure you could tell Lala and I… Read more »

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Guest

Buti na lang walang Mario Maurer, Lee Min Ho at Kim Hyun Jung ang Indonesia. 😀

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Guest

Hi, I got link about this randomly on twitter, and it definitely intrigued me simply because I’m an Indonesian. I’ve read thoroughly (but I may not get the whole story written in Tagalog)  Chyng’s and Dyanie’s awful experience in Bali and I can’t even describe how embarrassed and sorry I am that you have to went through all that in my country. I’m not here to defend my country or anything, just want to share my comment about this. yes, Indonesia is filled with corruption, terrorism, criminals, religious battle, extremist, hypocrite government etc etc and all bad things shitty things… Read more »

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Just a Guest

Thank you for sharing this. I’ve travelled everywhere but I NEVER got this treatment, not even in Turkey when they had to expect our luggages randomly (It was a month after a group of Filipinos where caught stealing Jewelry–haaay nako!). I knew they were strict but they were very respectful and polite.  Anyway I never had any plans of visiting Indonesia..ever. Not with the way their Immigration Officers acted. Yes, the immigration officers were just doing their jobs but their behavior was not justifiable…acting superior when they also in fact belong to a 3rd world country.

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Kenneth Robert

The Philippine media should do something about it as well as the Philippine immigration officers. As if naman na walang Indonesian na pumapasok dito na walang dalang drugs. Mas maganda pa sigurong gawin e ibody check nila fellow Indo’s nila baka sila pa ang magdala ng drugs dito. I like the first pic “Bintang Bali”… makapambintang naman sila akala nila di sila nagdadala ng drugs dito… Anyway, I admire that both of you didn’t breakdown while in the immigration office.

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Dianelang

Nangyari rin ito sa amin sa Jakarta pero hindi tungkol sa Drugs.. Noong 2007 na wala pang Greek Embassy sa Pilipinas, kailangan pang pumunta sa Jakarta upang makuha ang working contract at mag-apply ng Schengen visa.. Marami sa aming Pilipino ang nahold sa immigration para hingian nila ng pera… Kahit ang salitang ” kotong” ay alam nila.. Mula sa pagdating hanggang sa pag-alis sa Jakarta ay kinukuhanan nila ng pera… Hindi lang isa kundi napakaraming Pilipino ang kinotongan nila.. Salamat sa Diyos dahil Greek embassy na sa Pilipinas..

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Chuckie

Blame the 3 pinays they earlier caught with drugs. There was a time when many Hongkong stores had “Dogs and Filipinos not allowed.” Every experience they get with honest Filipinos chips away little by little at the horrible reputation built up by our erring countrymen

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Anonymous

I went to Bali with my wife last year and had no such problems. Granted, we didn’t fit the exact profile (group of single females). Unfortunately, the relatively few Filipinos who traffic drugs taint the reputation of the relative majority of law-abiding travelers and there’s little we can do about that. But those stereotypes exist for a reason: some Pinoys are pulling serious crap. Our best safeguard is information on how to protect oneself: know contact details of the consulate in destination country, travel in groups that do not match the unfortunate profiles (if possible), take extra care to avoid… Read more »

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Guest

something similar happened to me too upon entry to the US via DTW (Detroit Metro arirport) & they could be strict, rude, impolite  just because they can  http://thegoodgirlblog.blogspot.com/2008/12/im-baaak-da-sequel-aka-detroit-metro.html its not just about being Filipino – though sometimes being one doesnt help – at times trip trip lang ng airport officers & it applies to any citizen of the world upon entering countries where there are strict rules on immigration and drugs — russell brand (a UK comedian was not allowed entry to the US via NY because of his past history with drugs)  [Reply]CVS Reply:June 3rd, 2011 at 8:53 AMsame… Read more »

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Guest

wow, parang nakakarelate ako dito, im also a filipina pero at least indi na umabot sa extent na pinapasok pa ko sa holding room at pinahubad ako!! IT was also an air asia flight to Bali, and nauna ako sa mga kasama ako, when I arrived sa airport.  sa lahat ng tao na dumaan palabas ng immigration, ako lang ung pina stop sa customs at chineck yung gamit ko, as in lahat binuksan nila. kung ano ano mga tinitingnan, nakaka harass ung dating, at kung makatingin pa ung mga custom officers (puro lalaki) nakakabastos. Basta cool lang ako sa mga… Read more »

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Guest

wow, parang nakakarelate ako dito, im also a filipina pero at least indi na umabot sa extent na pinapasok pa ko sa holding room at pinahubad ako!! IT was also an air asia flight to Bali, and nauna ako sa mga kasama ako, when I arrived sa airport.  sa lahat ng tao na dumaan palabas ng immigration, ako lang ung pina stop sa customs at chineck yung gamit ko, as in lahat binuksan nila. kung ano ano mga tinitingnan, nakaka harass ung dating, at kung makatingin pa ung mga custom officers (puro lalaki) nakakabastos. Basta cool lang ako sa mga… Read more »

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anonymous

 I met an Indonesian classmate in a summer pre-MBA workshop. He said that Indonesian immigration officials are really corrupt. In the same way that our own immigration officials ask money from our OFWs, they do the same to their own countrymen–at a higher price. He was very suprised to find Indonesian-brand noodles much cheaper here as well. * Sigh * what is an honest Indonesian to do, right? But thanks for the brave warning Chingay and for keeping us all informed about the perils of being typecast at airports. It really does make you think twice about travelling to Bali,… Read more »

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Guest

It’s not an isolated case. I was there in August and December. They racially profile Filipinas, specially if they are single or traveling with one or two female companions. Because I’m an ASEAN passport holder I didn’t have to through the long visa-on arrival line queue. Everything went well and I even met a cheerful Indonesian-Australian lady who has giving me tips on where to go. Custom declarations came and submitted my non-declaration form. It was my lucky day. One of the custom officers decided to do a random check on me. This was fine and dandy because that’s their… Read more »

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Guest

Hi Des,

Tanong ko lng.. wala ba ako magiging problema if i travel alone from Pinas to Bali?
Our company planned to have an Annual Event at sa Indonesia gaganapin. All of the company staff will be coming from different country at ako lng ang manggaling sa Pinas. Worried ako kase baka kung ano-ano itanong sakin ng Immigration officers saten, I will be travelling through different Airlines kase. Pinas to SG – via Tiger Airways, then SG to Bali Indonesia via AirAsia (the same day) …
Any advise will be much appreciated.

Thanks so much..

Mel

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Guest

Bago pa man natin puntiryahin ang sistema sa Indonesia, unahin na muna natin yung sa atin! October 14th, 2010, papunta ako sa Singapore for a much-needed R&R. Sa X-Ray pa lang sa NAIA entrance, pilit akong hinohold kasi nung kapkapan ako, nakapa yung dala kong 9,000 pesos sa bulsa. Over limit daw ako (WTF? P10,000 po ang currency export limit) kaya pinakausap ako nung sikyu sa isang pulis. Ang siste pala, gusto nila eh papalitan ko yung peso ko sa kanila ng US $. Ang rate ni mamang pulis, US $1 = P50. Grabe. Nagmatigas ako kahit pa sinabi nilang… Read more »

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Joe

Funny! My experience of delay at the airport was when a lady X-ray scanner couldn’t figure out what that small marble white-box in my carry-on knapsack that popped on the screen,  which was a MacBook Pro charger/adapter , that she mistakenly described as powder package. GROSS IGNORANCE!

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Anonymous Pinoy

sad but true, it sucks to be Pinoy.

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Guest

thank you Chuvaness for sharing. let everyone be warned. it’s really traumatic… [Reply]CVS Reply:June 2nd, 2011 at 11:32 PMthank you Chyng and God bless. [Reply]Tel Reply:June 3rd, 2011 at 1:41 PMHI Chyng, I’ve experienced  harassment also last year too, but in Bintan naman. An immigration officer (his name is ADIT, I can still remember), took me to one room and told me that he’s not giving my passport back because he was accusing me that I was “jumping”  (jumping meaning, going to Indonesia to have my Singapore tourist visa extended). All I wanted to do was spend a day in… Read more »

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Tel

HI Chyng, I’ve experienced  harassment also last year too, but in Bintan naman. An immigration officer (his name is ADIT, I can still remember), took me to one room and told me that he’s not giving my passport back because he was accusing me that I was “jumping”  (jumping meaning, going to Indonesia to have my Singapore tourist visa extended). All I wanted to do was spend a day in Bintan with my friends and that’s it. I feel for you. It’s really hard to remain composed in that kind of situation. I had my friends with me too, but… Read more »

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Quelly

Hi Chyng, I just received a tagged post from a friend about ur traumatic experience,,,every word that was written struck my heart out and even now while replying,I’m crying and I feel the pain in ur story.I don’t know why I feel this way(kinda emotional but not really like this that I were on ur shoes during that tym).Hindi ako pala-comment na tao sa mga nababasa ko but in ur story,I can’t help it lalo na nagsilabasan din ang iba’t ibang kwento ng bawat isa. My husband and I love travelling ASEAN countries since 2009.We started in  Taiwan(kahit di ASEAN),hongkong,China… Read more »