JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – The government set a planned use of quick response (QR) codes as a surveillance system to track foreign citizens in the country, officials said on Tuesday (07/14), a move to respond to cases of foreign fugitives escaping to Indonesia.

“We are developing a QR code system so we can track foreigners. We’re waiting for the President to sign the regulation,” the Law and Human Rights Ministry’ immigration director-general, Jhoni Ginting, said in a hearing with the House of Representatives Commission I overseeing defense in Jakarta.

President Joko Widodo, he went on, will soon issue Presidential Regulation as a legal basis to use and develop the new system. The QR code will later be attached to foreigners’ passports or visas and detect their movement by tracking their transactions in public facilities, such as hotels and restaurants, and ticket purchases for public transportation.

The QR code system will be introduced to public service offices so that immigration authorities can monitor their movement. Subdistrict offices will also install the program to monitor foreigners and coordinate with village heads, police chiefs, military district command chiefs, and heads of neighborhood and community, Ginting explained.

The immigration office’ effort to establish close cooperation with representatives of different government institutions is in line with Widodo’ second term vision, in which the government strives to enforce immigration laws more strictly to boost foreign direct investment.

To strengthen its supervisory functions, the immigration office has been coordinating with different ministries and institutions at the central government level, such as the Indonesian Military, the National Police, the Home Ministry, the Attorney General’ Office, and the Manpower Ministry, Ginting added.

The innovation has become more relevant in this current situation following issues of fugitive Joko Tjandra, a fugitive in the high-profile Bank Bali corruption case, who evaded the immigration records when he entered and left Indonesia.

Last month he returned to the country and filed a case review against his conviction with the South Jakarta District Court in early June, the Attorney General Office (AGO) has said. The graft convict was scheduled to attend his own case review submission hearing at the court, but he did not appear. The AGO then tracking down the fugitive.

Attorney General ST Burhanuddin told media that the office had not received any information about Tjandra’ arrival in the country before learning that he had come to the South Jakarta District Court on June 8 to file his case review. He said Tjandra had reportedly been in Indonesia for the past three months.

The AGO has been hunting for Tjandra for years – but to no avail. Burhanuddin said he had previously received information that Tjandra had been spotted in Malaysia and Singapore.

Tjandra was involved in the Bank Bali scandal, which saw hundreds of billions of rupiah embezzled from state bailout funds for the 1998 Asian financial crisis. He was acquitted in 2000 but later convicted in 2009 after the AGO filed a request for review.

The Supreme Court convicted both Tjandra and former Bank Indonesia governor Syahril Sabirin and sentenced them to two years’ imprisonment each for misusing Bank Indonesia Liquidity Support funds in the case. The court ordered Tjandra to pay Rp546 billion (US$54 million) in restitution to the state for illegally disbursing the funds to the bank in 1999.

Tjandra, however, fled Indonesia on a chartered flight from Halim Perdanakusumah Airport in Jakarta to Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea (PNG) on June 10, 2009, just a day before the Supreme Court issued its verdict on the AGO’s request for review.

Then-PNG Ambassador to Indonesia Peter Ilau confirmed on July 12, 2009, that Tjandra had obtained PNG citizenship. The AGO suspected that Djoko had falsified legal documents when applying for PNG citizenship, as Tjandra was a fugitive and would have concealed information during his application process.

US$1=Rp14,200

Written by Lexy Nantu, Email: lexynantu@theinsiderstories.com