Crime is present in various forms in Indonesia and is punished by means such as the death penalty, fines and/or imprisonment, but is low compared to other nations in the region. Indonesia's murder rate of 0.4 per 100,000 registered in 2017 is considered one of the lowest in the world. [1]

Patrol Boat of the Indonesian Police.

Crime by type


Crimes against foreigners in Indonesia


Petty crime, which includes snatch theft and pickpocketing, is present in Indonesia, usually taking place in locations with many people. Taxi scams are common in Indonesia, in which fake taxis are passed off as real ones. Foreign travellers often get fooled by this trickery, and end up getting robbed by the conman operating the fake taxi. Violent crime is another growing issue in the country. Pirated and counterfeit merchandise can be easily found in most parts of Indonesia.[2]

Scammers often target tourists. A very common one is the money changer scam, especially in Bali. What they do is to advertise attractive exchange rates to pull you in. They then only deal in small IDR 10,000 notes, and while counting this huge stack of notes, they use sleight of hand to drop some notes without you realizing. Some may even use a rigged calculator which can be effective due to the large denomination of the rupiah.[3]

Another common scam found in Yogyakarta is the Malioboro batik/art school scam. A tout offers to bring you to the best batik shops or art school. He shows you some stalls at the market and tell you why these are not worth it. You are then brought to the shop/school and wild claims are made, such as receiving money from the government to teach batik/art. They will also show you the process of making batik/art and treat you to tea so as to make you want to reciprocate. If you do, you will end up buying a screen printed fake on a worthless piece of cloth.[4]

Organised crime



Number of registered prostitutes in Indonesia, from 1984 to 1995

Prostitution, interpreted as a "crime against decency/morality", is illegal in Indonesia.[2] Nevertheless, the practice still is widespread, tolerated and regulated. Prostitution is most visibly manifested in Indonesia's brothel complexes, or lokalisasi, which are found throughout the country.[5] These brothels are managed under local government regulations.[6] During or after raids by the police, the prostitutes are able to bribe the law enforcers and be released from custody; this has led to police raids being called "nothing more than an income source for public order officers".[7]

UNICEF estimates that 30 percent of the female prostitutes in Indonesia are below 18 years of age.[8] The International Labour Organization (ILO) puts the total number of child prostitutes in Jakarta at 5,000; according to the Jakarta city government, this is concentrated in Prumpung (North Jakarta), Grogol (West Jakarta) Tanah Abang (Central Jakarta), Block M (South Jakarta), as well as Jatinegara and Ciracas (both East Jakarta).[9] Child sex tourism is a problem, especially on the resort islands of Bali and Batam.[10][11]



Corruption is a known and increasing issue in Indonesia.[12] There are two key areas in the public sector in which corruption in Indonesia can be found. These are the justice and civil service sectors. While hard data on corruption is difficult to collect, corruption in Indonesia is clearly seen through public opinion, collated through surveys as well as observation of how each system runs.[13] Corruption is regarded as a huge expense to the Indonesian government.[14] The Indonesian police force is known to go overboard and there have been reports of assaults against demonstrators in the country. The misuse of ferocity has been panned by the London-based Amnesty International.[15]



Illegal logging


Human trafficking


Street fighting


Tawuran is a form of customary mass street fighting between gangs of particular school related students in urban Indonesia, especially in the capital city Jakarta. It is practised largely by males in their junior or senior year of high school.[16] Indonesian sociologist Wirumoto has suggested that it serves as a stress release mechanism, as it often occurs following examinations, holiday seasons or graduation.[16]

Sex trafficking


Sex trafficking in Indonesia is a problem. Indonesian and foreign women and girls have been forced into prostitution in brothels and homes and been physically and psychologically abused.[17][18][19]





Indonesia has put a handful of people convicted of murder to death .[20] Watching pornography is against the law, since March 2008.[2]

Crime is segmented into two broad classifications: "Crimes" and "Offenses".[21] There are a few methods to punish one for crime; this includes imprisonment and fine.[2] The death penalty by means of a firing squad is available and frequently used, as a deterrent against crime. They say that this gives the firing squad some practice. This has raised concerns from international organisations, including Amnesty International.[22]


  1. ^ "Indonesia Homicide rate, 1990-2022 -". Knoema.
  2. ^ a b c d "Indonesia". Archived from the original on September 28, 2012. Retrieved June 13, 2013.
  3. ^ "Money changer scams in Indonesia". 2019-03-20. Retrieved 2019-06-05.
  4. ^ "Malioboro batik/art school scam in Indonesia". 2019-03-20. Retrieved 2019-06-05.
  5. ^ "Intersections: Traditional and Emergent Sex Work in Urban Indonesia". Retrieved 30 March 2011.
  6. ^ "Facts and Statistics » Coalition Against Trafficking In Women – Asia Pacific". Catw-Ap. 22 November 2010. Archived from the original on 11 April 2011. Retrieved 30 March 2011.
  7. ^ Winarti, Agnes (26 December 2008). "Raids on prostitution merely 'income source for officials'". The Jakarta Post. Retrieved 24 August 2011.
  8. ^ "Overview - Child Protection". UNICEF. Archived from the original on 31 August 2018. Retrieved 24 August 2011.
  9. ^ "Child prostitutes big problem in Jakarta". The Jakarta Post. 25 July 2005. Archived from the original on 15 October 2012. Retrieved 24 August 2011.
  10. ^ "Bali Sex Tourism". Retrieved 30 March 2011.
  11. ^ "Violence Study - INDONESIA: Child sex tourism 'rampant' in S.E Asia". CRIN. Retrieved 30 March 2011.
  12. ^ Cochrane, Joe (May 30, 2013). "Plague of Corruption Rises Anew in Indonesia". The New York Times.
  13. ^ Lateef, S. et al; Combating Corruption in Indonesia, World Bank East Asia Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Unit 2003 Full text Archived 21 January 2005 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ Ezra Sihite (January 30, 2012). "Corruption Costs Indonesia $238m in 2011". Jakarta Globe. Archived from the original on 2013-02-18. Retrieved 2013-06-13.
  15. ^ "Amnesty condemns police brutality in Indonesia". AsiaOne. April 26, 2012.
  16. ^ a b Jeffrey Jensen Arnett (2007). International encyclopedia of adolescence: A-J, index. Taylor & Francis. pp. 467–. ISBN 978-0-415-96667-2.
  17. ^ "Indonesia's child prostitution problem". The ASEAN Post. February 9, 2020.
  18. ^ "Human Trafficking In Indonesia: The Difficult Road Home". Nexus Institute. June 16, 2017.
  19. ^ "Facebook used to kidnap girls for sex slaves". Standard-Examiner. October 29, 2012. Archived from the original on July 29, 2020. Retrieved April 15, 2020.
  20. ^ "Indonesia executes three men for premeditated murder". The Straits Times. May 17, 2013.
  21. ^ Newman, Graeme R. (30 October 2010). Crime and Punishment around the World: [Four Volumes]. ABC-CLIO. pp. 92–. ISBN 978-0-313-35134-1.
  22. ^ Gelling, Peter (11 July 2008). "Indonesia widens use of death penalty". The New York Times. Retrieved June 15, 2013.