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Secrets of Deincarnation in Bali
An American who falls in love with and marries a beautiful Balinese girl is ultimately
forced to flee the Island of the Gods with his children ahead of plans for murder.
"This court makes the finding that she abandoned her children."
- The Honorable Susan Lopez-Giss, California Superior Court, Pomona, 17 March 2009
Life goes on...
The following documents may give away plot points to Eleven Demons.
President Yudhoyono (right) greeted by Bali Governor I Made Pastika in Bali June 2010.
Real life, business, and law in Bali is something else entirely.
Acquiring and using false official documents is difficult in most countries. Penalties
for False Documentation, Fraud, and Perjury are severe. But Made Jati apparently
had no difficulty obtaining numerous false documents or using them in multiple suspected
frauds. And despite six different reports to the police in Bali, she has faced no
In fact, the Uluwatu case is not really unusual for Bali, and collusion by police, public officials and lawyers to defraud foreign
investors is common.
Indonesia has made great progress under President Yudhoyono in reforming the notoriously
corrupt legal system, Reformasi in Indonesian.
But Bali with its easy flow of money from dewy-eyed foreign investors, many of whom
cannot speak even basic Indonesian, is largely beyond control of the authorities
in Jakarta. The U.S. government has experienced similar problems trying to stamp
out the narcotics trade; when large sums of money are involved it is almost impossible
to stop people from targeting it.
To understand why, we need to consider corruption and the existence of the Law Mafias.
Observers consider corruption one of the major problems confronting Indonesia. It
is an obstacle to development keeping millions of Indonesians in poverty. Graft
drains tremendous amounts from public finances yearly.
President Yudhoyono's administration has set up commissions to tackle corruption
on every level. Dozens of non-governmental anti-corruption organizations also work
in cooperation with the government.
But some of the most difficult problems come from the "Law Mafias" - Mafia Hukum
in Indonesian - which flourish at least partly because of Indonesian's unique regionalism.
In theory the national government in Jakarta unites the hundreds of distinct peoples
and languages in the nation, but in fact most Indonesians also identify strongly
with their own ethnic group.
"We versus them" is particularly useful when it is also profitable - as in enjoying
special rights over income in their own province.
Law Mafias sponsor and protect illegal activities by issuing false documents and
certificates, sidetracking investigations, and covering up with dishonest judicial
decisions. They make money from percentages of the proceeds, so the more illegal
activity, the more money they make.
Kalimantan has logging, Riau has fishing, and Bali has an endless flow of tourist
Attempts by anti-corruption commissions to break up regional Law Mafias can be met
with tremendous resistance because they can be complicated by issues of local ethnic
Law Mafias aren't run by Godfathers. They are informal and shifting groups who know
how to help people involved in the local scams get things done.
Reality is that Made Jati has an education through 5th grade. She is ambitious,
but she did not obtain knowledge of marriage laws by reading law books. The legal
arguments are contrary to law, but sophisticated.
In 1985, the idea that an Indonesian wife could cancel a foreign marriage by failing
to register in Indonesia would have been a popular theory among certain groups.
There were a few mistakes along the way. Her family arranged the Hindu marriage
ceremony in 1994 before they obtained a what they later claimed to be a prenuptial
agreement; they apparently had to go back and improvise a solution with a variety
of false documents and then obtain a new marriage certificate from Denpasar in 1996.
But when Made Jati was ready for the divorce in 2005, she found solid support from
members of the courts, the police, the public prosecutors and even my original lawyers.
The idea that Made Jati controls the legal institutions and law offices and newspapers
in Bali is ridiculous. But it appears likely that Made Jati is a client of
a Bali Law Mafia.