Sunday, January 2, 2011

Not a bad place to spend some jail time

Back in Magelang and catching up on some Jakarta Globe reading between scheduling meetings for the new semester. It looks like the story of my passport theft will appear this week in the Beachwood Reporter. I'm waiting on edits from Steve and will post a link when it's up. After that, a longer piece ruminating on Indonesian privilege and corruption might see the light soon.

With that theme in mind, I thought I'd pass on a link to a Globe story about a woman convicted of graft who paid another woman to serve her jail term. This piece is especially relevant because it follows a couple other recent high-profile stories of privileged law-breakers who enjoyed unusually pleasant detentions inside Indonesian prison facilities.

One of them, a low-level tax official who reportedly made millions by colluding with tax-evading corporations, even paid to be let out of jail every weekend for several months. He was caught when a Globe photographer took a picture of him in the stands at a tennis tournament last fall in Bali. The tax official, who's known in the media by his first name, Gayus, was wearing a wig and fake glasses as a disguise at the tennis tournament, sort of like Bobby Valentine a few years back. The pictures of him that ran in the paper made him look like a very frumpy middle-aged cross-dresser.

Gayus at first denied it was him in the picture but he eventually admitted it was and later said that he'd routinely been letting himself out of jail for weekends--with the help of prison guards and officials, of course. The case exploded across the Indonesian media and remains a front-page item. The question for most isn't how or why Gayus was able to pay for his weekend release program--no one seems to have any doubt about the hows or whys of that particular project--but rather whether Gayus will spill the beans about all the corporate honchos he helped fix tax cases. One such honcho is a would-be presidential candidate and rival to current President SBY. The story is big, silly Gayus a household name, and the issue of whether there's a jail cell in the country that can hold anyone with even a hint of privilege is one that will probably have to wait. Until when? Maybe later.

Oh, and that link I was talking about:

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