Fri, 15 Dec 2000

YLKI calls for stronger laws against scalpers

JAKARTA (JP): Consumer advocates and officials on Thursday called for stronger laws which could crack down on scalpers.

Indonesian Consumers Foundation (YLKI) vice chairman, Agus Pambagyo said that laws prohibiting people from selling transportation tickets above the standard fares remain ambiguous.

"We can't fight scalpers. The police can't charge them and the courts can't convict them because there is no regulation to support the arrest of the perpetrators," Agus told The Jakarta Post.

Agus said new regulations had yet to be discussed among government officials although complaints about such matters were often heard, especially during the holiday season.

Echoing Agus's statement, chief of Jakarta Police Operation Control Command, Sr. Supt. Nono Suprijono said police could only bring apprehended scalpers to the police station to be "lectured" and then released.

"Residents who have been victimized by scalpers can file a complaint, but they must have evidence and witnesses," said Nono.

Speaking at a coordinating meeting with city authorities at City Hall, Nono called the City Council to issue a decree which would allow law enforcers to take stern action against scalpers.

Nono's remark was in line with the head of the Jakarta office of the minister of transportation and communications Faizal Amir who had also attended the coordinating meeting.

Faizal said operators of several train stations, such as the Gambir station of Central Jakarta, are offering a reward of Rp 200,000 (about US$22.2) to those who could provide information that would lead to the capture of a scalper.

"My office has dispatched officials to look out for scalpers and check every passenger and their ticket," said Faizal.

Peak periods such as the coming Christmas and Idul Fitri holidays are always good opportunities for scalpers as millions of people return to their hometowns. This puts a high demand on the limited number of tickets.

Agus even came up with a radical suggestion of allowing scalpers to operate in an official capacity.

"Transportation operators could provide them with a special corner to sell their tickets. In this way, we can monitor their business," he said.

Agus did not elaborate on the scheme but hinted that these scalpers could be given purchase discounts so that they would not sell the tickets at outrages prices.

Under the scheme, he said scalpers could be likened to ticket brokers, such as travel bureaus or real estate agencies.

As the peak period of the holiday season nears, scalpers are selling tickets, that are in demand, at more than 60 percent their regular price.

However Agus stressed that an important way in eliminating scalpers is to cut the supply of tickets from "inside personnel" who give scalpers the opportunity to sell tickets at a higher price. (07)