I really hate to do this, but it seems like I most likely will have to bribe the police at some point because I do not have a motorbike license and I'm driving a scooter in Indonesia for several weeks.

See the related questions in this topic:

So my question is: what is the minimum amount (in 2015) I can expect to pay when the police stops me and start pressuring me for some bribe?

  • 4
    Relevant on Meta: How should questions/answers on how to do something illegal be treated? Commented Jun 29, 2015 at 11:13
  • (Actually I'm not sure that the meta post I linked to above is the most recent / most relevant on this topic. It seems like only a couple of months ago that this was last discussed.) Commented Jun 30, 2015 at 3:43
  • I can tell you that you can travel for year in Medan without any trouble. But the police in Bali is infamous for checking the licence of every "bule" I drove for one month in Java (you will mostly be in Java, right?) without any control
    – Madlozoz
    Commented Jun 30, 2015 at 18:22
  • @Madlozoz Interesting. Nope, I'm going to many places, sumatra, java, bali, lombok, sulawesi, and maybe more. Seems like i got lucky so far in Bali, been driving for 1 week without any control so far, I might be just tan enough now ;)
    – Adriano
    Commented Jul 1, 2015 at 10:26

2 Answers 2


The standard "on-the-spot fine" for minor and/or imaginary traffic infractions while white is Rp. 50,000. Indonesians may get away with less, the average bule will need to haggle to get even that low.

I'd advise you to reconsider renting a scooter though. First, you do need that license to drive legally, and any insurance you may have is likely invalidated by not having one. And second, the accident rates on Indonesia's roads are pretty horrific and scooters/motorbikes are the most dangerous form of transport.

Last but not least, if you do stumble into an honest cop, you're looking at a fine of Rp. 1 million or up to four months in jail. Road Traffic Law, sections 77 (driving without a license) and section 281 (penalties):

Setiap orang yang mengemudikan Kendaraan Bermotor di Jalan yang tidak memiliki Surat Izin Mengemudi sebagaimana dimaksud dalam Pasal 77 ayat (1) dipidana dengan pidana kurungan paling lama 4 (empat) bulan atau denda paling banyak Rp1.000.000,00 (satu juta rupiah).

  • @jpatokal while I would normally agree on not renting scooters because of this issue with driving licenses, scooter rental is a major business in Indonesia. In Bali only, hundreds (thousands?) of scooters are rented to tourists every day, so I find it difficult to believe the government would ever apply a fine of 1'000'000 Rupiahs as it is obviously fully aware of the situation. The danger in driving a scooter is another topic...
    – Adriano
    Commented Jun 30, 2015 at 3:11
  • 2
    @AdrienBe The other reason I'm pointing that out is that it means your leverage in negotiating a bribe is poor: the cop knows full well that you do not want to go to a police station over this. Commented Jun 30, 2015 at 3:15
  • oh yeah, you're completely right. No-one would want that, just sounded like there actually was a risk of meeting a cop trying to be more honest than necessary and take you to a trial even if you'd try to bribe him. I suspect that an honest cop would simply ignore you as he'd know the law makes no sense (not in sync with the current state of things).
    – Adriano
    Commented Jul 1, 2015 at 10:18
  • i accepted your answer as it is much more than what i asked. Thx for ur inputs on so many questions i posted the last month by the way, seems like u know a few things abt Indonesia :)
    – Adriano
    Commented Jul 1, 2015 at 10:23
  • @AdrienBe Sama-sama! You pick up a thing or two when you spend 1.5 years in Jakarta and travel every chance you get ;) Commented Jul 1, 2015 at 10:36

Following up on Jpatokal's answer. After staying for a month or so in Bali, I got stopped two times by a police control.

Each time they asked for a bribe of 200'000 IDR to let me go. The first time I only had 100'000 IDR in my wallet, they ended up accepting it. The second time I was ready with a dedicated pocket having only 50'000 IDR, and they ended up taking it. Note that each time I told them I had not the 200k the policemen were not amused, so I had to put on a act so they believed me and ended up giving up.

Where the police stopped me

The first time, two cops stopped me on this epic bridge linking Sanur to the Bukit peninsula, at the toll where you pay for the fee to take the bridge, it was exactly here https://maps.google.com/?q=-8.734998,115.207652&hl=en&gl=ch

There is a dedicated queue for motorbikes at the toll. And behind was 2 policemen stopping motorbikes one after another, they were doing a killing. I stopped only a few minutes and I saw them getting bribes from 2 other motorbike riders, a local and a tourist.

This is the policeman stopping motorbikes just after the toll. corrupt policeman in Indonesia

This is the other policeman taking the bribe in his booth while the other one stops more motorbikes Indonesian corrupt policeman taking bribe

The second time, a group of around 15 policemen were located on a main road just after a curve (close to Kuta), stopping many motorbikes, and again, stacking on illegal money from bribes.

I think it was here exactly, http://goo.gl/maps/DMQsF

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