6 Singaporeans rounded up in raids in Batam nightspots

Batam Immigration officials show copies of the passports of 10 Chinese and Vietnamese citizens arrested for allegedly working as sex workers in Batam, Riau Islands, in a press conference.
Batam Immigration officials show copies of the passports of 10 Chinese and Vietnamese citizens arrested for allegedly working as sex workers in Batam, Riau Islands, in a press conference.PHOTO: THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

JAKARTA - A group of six Singaporean youths were among 35 foreigners rounded up by Indonesian authorities during random raids on nightspots in Batam over the weekend.

The operation, which started on Saturday (April 22) and ended in the early hours of Sunday, was led by local immigration authorities and supported by navy personnel.

The Singaporeans included a 16-year-old and at least three youths, who were on holiday in Batam.

They were among a total of 27 men and eight women - all foreign nationals - who were detained because they could not produce their passports during the raid at Kampung Bule, an entertainment area in Batam where foreigners are known to frequent.

Most of the revellers were released after they were able to retrieve their travel documents from their hotels for verification. A few remain in custody as investigations continue.

Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), replying to queries from The Straits Times said it "understands that four Singaporean tourists in Batam were initially unable to produce their passports during a check by the local authorities on 22 April 2017 as they had left their passports in the hotel".

"They were allowed to return to Singapore with no charges pressed after they produced their passports. The Singapore Consulate in Batam provided the necessary consular assistance to the Singaporeans," said a spokesman from the ministry.

Video footage of the operation captured by local news station Gurindam TV showed an altercation between a naval officer and a group of Caucasian women outside a nightclub.

The women shouted "No", and refused to go with him when ordered to do so, prompting the officer to respond, "Why no? This is our country."

wahyudis@sph.com.sg