It all began last Friday (Day 1) when I was happily going home from Taman Anggrek Mal. Whether it is either due to lack of concentration or plain reckless, I took the way into the tollway that I knew was prohibited by the police (though there are no signs or no road markings that prohibited me to do so). Little did I know that this little incident become the main focus of my attention for days to come…
When officer Sigit Indra pulled me over and told me what I did, I was trying to defend myself. Of course my effort was in vain (regardless whether I am right or wrong), so after a few minutes of defending myself, he asked me what I want him to do: book me or make a “deal”? By “deal”, you know and everyone else know that he means I have to bribe him. Well, since I just received an e-mail earlier that day saying that it is better to be booked and pay a minimal fee later in the bank rather that paying the police on the road (the sample of that e-mail can be seen here), I then told the “nice” officer to book me instead. He then gave me the booking ticket (Surat Tilang), and told me to pay the fee @ bank BRI as written in the letter. Once I have paid, I can then collect my driver’s license from him @ SamSat Dipenda (Central Traffic Police Department) in Cengkareng.
My first mistake was not to read the ticket right there. When I was at home, I noticed that the officer didn’t put down the fine amount that I supposed to pay (see the red circle). So the following Tuesday at noon (Day 2), I went to BRI bank @ Jl.Kopi as stated in the ticket (Monday was a public holiday in Indonesia). Seeing no amount written there, the bank rejected the letter. The guy from the bank told me to go to the nearest Police Post and asked them to put in the correct amount before I go back to the bank to pay.
The Police Post is conveniently located quite nearby the bank (only a couple of blocks away), so I went there on foot. However, all the police (and the “banpol”) including vice commander Mudjadi in the post refused to help me put the correct amount, because they don’t have the jurisdiction to do so (“Only the traffic police can do that”, Officer Mudjadi said). They suggested me to go straight to Samsat, get the right amount written there by the officer, paid the fine in the bank @ Jl.Kopi, and then go back to SamSat to collect my driver’s license. That means I have to go back and forth some 15km under heavy traffic three times! No way, josé! Not gonna do it!
On my way back to my car, I saw a couple of traffic police sitting on their motorbikes. So I kindly asked them whether they can tell me the right amount. They can only gave me an estimate around Rp 56,000.00, but still they did not want to put that in writing for me. In addition, they also told me that nowadays they are not supposed to give away the blue form anymore; it has to be the red form, so everyone must go to the local court and attend the trial. Aw, c’mon!
After all these effort, I don’t need someone to tell me to go to a trial. I was frustrated, so I ended up going home after receiving that information. Still, I want to know the right procedure, because it seems that nobody can give me a straight answer to anything. So I decided to go to SamSat the following day to get things in the right order. Besides, I don’t know which court I need to go to (the court location was so nicely doodled in the ticket).
Wednesday morning (Day 3), I went to SamSat building. I knocked on the “special booking case” (“khusus tilang”) door, and there I was greeted my a lady officer by the name of Ibu Ade. I asked her that I was booked last Friday, and I want to know how much amount that I need to pay in the bank because it wasn’t written. Ibu Ade then told me to wait outside. One bottle of Teh Sosro later, she called me backed in and put down my driver’s license on the table with all the forms and asked “do you want to pay the fine right there or later during the trial?” Well, I saw my driver’s license right there, so I figured if I can pay the fee now, why wait until the following week? I told her how much do I need to pay, and she told me “Rp 126,500.00.”
I was so shocked since it is far more than what I thought it would be, more than twice the amount the traffic police told me the day before. I asked her again “Isn’t it only Rp 56,000.00?” She then laughed, then said “Yes, it was that much maybe years ago, sir.” Before I paid, I asked whether I can get the receipt for this. She then said “No.” Then I know that it was not the right amount. Darn it! I restate my question in a stronger tone “Please ma’am. Do you mean I can pay here, then asked for the receipt in the court? Exactly, what is the procedure here?” She replied “No, sir. The procedure is up to you. If you want to go to the trial and settle there and then, go ahead. But you can do that now and settle it here in this office, and you can get your driver’s license back right now.”
Man, I want to scold her. This is exactly why people bribe the police, because the procedure is not very clear-cut and the police themselves want to be bribed. But then I remember the point from Dale Carnegie’s book not to scold, especially when they have something that you want (in this case, my driver’s license). So I thought, “Fine! So be it! I tried to follow the right procedures, but you force me to do this. I will not be blamed for any wrong-doings!”
In the end, I asked Ibu Ade to have one of the booking ticket as a receipt, but she told me to make a copy myself at the photocopy vendor in the next building. You can see from the picture of my booking ticket above. Also, in the back of the ticket, it stated that any officers receiving bribe will be sentenced up to 5 years in jail. Yeah, sure. If you call it a “fee” rather than a “bribe”, then I suppose that statement is no longer valid!
But on top of the high fine, the one that made me very mad is
when I saw what they have done to my driver’s license. One of the officer might have tried extremely hard to staple my driver’s license with the booking tickets. Yes, S-T-A-P-L-E-D the plastic card onto the papers, and not only in one place! Now my driver’s license is damaged as seen here from the back…
Oh Lord, please give me strength to stay in Your path daily so that I don’t disgrace You… sigh…
PS: After this incident, now I know what needs to be done. According to this link, we have to make sure the fine amount is written, request to look at the fine table, which bank to go when paying, the officer’s name is legible, and the procedure is clear (when and where we can get our driver’s license back). I figured, since my driver’s license is already damaged, having it stapled again won’t matter… double sigh…