When many people think of Indonesia, the first thing that comes to mind is Bali. Although arguably Indonesia’s most popular vacation spot, it doesn’t represent the country’s vast diversity. In fact, security requirements change depending on the location. For instance, hiring a bodyguard in Indonesia may be necessary when travelling to more volatile regions but not others that are less populated.
At any rate, travelling to some corners of the country warrants hiring one or multiple bodyguards, especially during
- Vacations or film shoots in Bali,
- Business travels to specific areas in Sulawesi,
- Notable and publicized events in Jakarta, and
- Surfing in remote regions of Sumatra or research for documentaries.
In any of the cases, high-profile individuals, celebrity agencies, and other clients need to consult local security professionals to obtain local knowledge about things like extreme weather events, risk profile, and logistical challenges.
The reason being that international travelers may rarely read local Indonesian news. Also, they may be surprised by the diverse threat levels country-wide. Similarly, foreign executives and UHNW families must uphold local laws and customs regardless of their own religious inclinations.
The Benefits of Mixed Teams
Whenever travelling to less frequented areas, it is wise to check regional and provincial particulars. For instance, before hiring a bodyguard in Indonesia, one must bear in mind the following key details:
- More than 700 languages are spoken there on more than 6,000 inhabited islands,
- The Economist’s 2021 Safe Cities Index gives the capital city of Jakarta a safety score of 56.4 out of 100,
- Indonesia is a relatively conservative Muslim country, and
- Traffic rules and regulations differ from those in many other countries, in that locals appear to adhere to their own rules.
Now it is up to the executive protection team and bodyguards to compile a well-rounded security plan. However, travelling to the nation with only international security staff would be unwise. In fact, it could prove unfavourable for the principal and their entourage in many ways, as they may likely do a poorer job of preventing unexpected events due to a lack of local knowledge.
Conversely, we recommend hiring a mixed team comprised of local and expatriate security professionals. The reason is that ex-pats bring global experience, while locals provide regional knowledge and liaison with various government organisations, including critical stakeholders.
Ex-pat security professionals have a unique understanding of the local communities and trends due to their extended stay. Further, it’s likely that expats will have security or close protection training conducted at an international training academy. Coupled with that, local support amplifies the security efforts by providing better up-to-date information and opening communication channels that would not have existed otherwise.
On that note, more than 8 in 10 Indonesians say that corruption is widespread in the country’s businesses and state-run institutions. Thus, it is advisable to seek advice from a local risk management firm before working with or conducting business with various government or law enforcement agencies. One should leave it up to the select bodyguard in Indonesia to handle such matters, simultaneously maintaining direct contact between:
- Core security team (from abroad),
- Ex-pats, and
- Local support.
Only a multifaceted workforce can understand the intricacies of local dynamics and respond appropriately.
Avoiding Kidnap Scenarios
One of the most traumatic experiences, kidnapping, is an event that targets foreigners and locals alike. Apart from the principal’s death, it is the second-worst outcome for any security assignment.
For this section, we will explore how to avoid kidnap scenarios altogether.
At face value, it seems clear what an EPA and bodyguard in Indonesia need to do to ensure the safety of protectees:
- Create protocols,
- Vet individuals with whom protectees interact, and
- Direct the protectee’s activities without deviation.
However, that is only part of the protective plan. Other elements include items like reserving a safe hotel. But what does a safe hotel mean? Simply put, it entails:
- Avoiding booking rooms that face busy streets or are at ground level with the windows,
- Keeping one’s room door locked while staying inside,
- Checking if they have on-site security 24/7,
- Informing the hotel staff about the number of colleagues or entourage members one expects to work with in the hotel’s conference rooms,
- Having access to instructions, including evacuation and emergency response plans.
To that effect, getting from the airport to the hotel is the space that potential kidnappers monitor closely to find out if the HNW individual or family will reveal themselves. Typically, they do so by observing the behaviour of travelers once they land at the airport.
For instance, are they blending into their environment or standing out? Are they wearing brand name items or a lot of jewelry? Are they lining up for express business class queues? Do the travelers have a large amount of luggage or brand-named luggage? All these items may draw attention.
How a Bodyguard in Indonesia Prevents Theft
Due to the fast expansion of foreign enterprises into Indonesia and neighbouring countries, we expect an increase in the stream of executives who travel there. Unfortunately, many have poor knowledge of travel security and unwittingly present themselves as soft targets for criminal elements.
On the ground, the bodyguard is the security professional that the protectees should consult before moving anywhere or doing anything incompatible with a safe and secure environment. Thus, the key is preventing crime from happening and not chasing thieves while leaving the principal unprotected.
As a matter of fact, the thieves are likely to be experienced criminals and bag-snatchers who are well-versed in their craft. Hence, pursuing them would probably be futile, as they are the ones who know the local streets, avenues, and hiding places.
In Bali, crime generally poses a moderate threat. But with millions of tourists yearly, it is probably the most crowded place with foreigners. Criminal threats occurring there are typically non-violent and include:
- Robbery, and
- Drug trafficking.
Regardless, malefactors often target foreigners due to their perceived wealth. Therefore, we recommend not carrying any jewellery, watches, or expensive phones and clothes in public, as they might signal high status.
Of course, not all places within Bali are equally safe. For instance, we suggest taking particular care while walking the streets of Denpasar, Gianyar, and Kuta’s famous tourist sites. A rule of thumb here is not publicly showing signs of wealth or attracting any attention. Intoxicated travelers also become easy targets.
Finally, staying near a bodyguard and listening to their advice is always advised. At the very least, they will act as a visual deterrent in most settings.
This article explored how hiring a bodyguard in Indonesia can be invaluable for those receiving protective services. Yet, selecting one (or multiple bodyguards) can often be taxing.
To help you out with the process, here are a few key takeaways:
- Ensure the bodyguards are vetted,
- Confirm that they speak the local language(s),
- Create a mixed team of ex-pats and local security professionals,
- Assure familiarity with the customs, regulations, and laws, and
- Consider selecting a hotel that is compatible with a safe and secure environment.
Companies like Panoptic Solutions support individuals and organisations in enhancing productivity and peace of mind by offering unmatched bodyguard services.