Indonesia Security Threats

Data and information about security threats from Indonesia’s black market. Intelligence data and security information collected from government agencies, news articles and other public data sources.


A study published in Nature reported that the deforestation rate in Indonesia is the highest in the world. Between 2000 and 2012, Indonesia lost 6.02 million hectares of forest due to logging and other clearing activities. According to the researchers from the University of Maryland, up to 40 percent of the deforestation in Indonesia was due to illegal logging.

Environmental officials and wildlife protection charities are concerned about the loss of forests in Indonesia. The country’s forests are home to 10 percent of the world’s plants, 12 percent of its mammals, 16 percent of its reptiles and 17 percent of its bird species.


Fuel smugglers in Indonesia are using motorcycles to smuggled subsidized fuel into East Timor, which does not receive government subsidies for its gasoline purchases.

According to a report in the Jakarta Globe, smugglers quickly drive up to gas stations located in the Belu district of Timor. The smugglers cut in front of the line and fill up modified tanks on their bikes that are able to hold more fuel than regular motorcycle tanks. Once filled, they drive over the border into East Timor to sell the fuel on the black market. Once the fuel is off-loaded, the smugglers return to the gas station in Belu and repeat the process. Media reports state that each time the smuggler cuts in line and fills up the bike tank, the smugglers passes along a small payment to the gas attendants.

A barrel of fuel costs around $78 (900,000 Indonesian Rupiah) in Indonesia with the fuel subsidy. In East Timor, the same barrel of fuel costs about $156 (1.8 Million Rupiah).

The smuggling of fuel has impacted Indonesia’s budget. The original budget estimate for the fuel subsidy program was set at 210 Trillion Rupiah. Due to the purchases of smugglers, the fuel subsidy program cost 285 Trillion Rupiah, or $25 Billion.

In addition to the fuel smuggling, a black market in stolen cars is also active on the border with East Timor. A person with experience in the trade told the Jakarta Globe that a stolen 2013 Toyota Avanza Veloz can be sold for $6,525 (75 Million Rupiah) on the border.

(See more black market prices here.)

Source:  Josua Grantan, “Timor Fuel Smugglers Deal in Liquid Money,” Jakarat Globe, May 21, 2014.

According to wildlife conservation groups, up to $1 Billion worth of illegally grown python skins are being imported into Europe each year. The black market trade in python skins helping to meet the demand for python skin handbags sold by Gucci and other luxury brands.

The legal market for python skins has grown from $137 Million (€100 Million) in 2005 to $1 Billion in 2014.

Although there are commercial farms growing python skins in Asia, industry officials believe that most of the skins being exported from Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia and Malaysia could have been collected from the black market.

(More exotic animals for sale prices.)

Source:  Sarah Butler, “Illegal python skins feed hunger for fashionable handbags and shoes,” Guardian, March 31, 2014.


Police in Indonesia broke up a prostitution ring that was operating on the social media site Facebook.

Jakarta police stated that the ring was offering prostitutes to customers through the use of a Facebook account. Undercover officers posed as a customer and arrested the women and driver who showed up at the hotel.

According to police, the ring charged the undercover officer $70 (800,000 Indonesian Rupiah) for the appointment at a hotel.

(More illegal prostitute prices worldwide.)

Source:  “Jakarta Police Bust Facebook Prostitution Ring,” Jakarta Globe, March 14, 2014.

Additional prostitution stats and prices available in our ebook:

In 2013, an estimated $6 Billion worth of coal was stolen from mines in Indonesia, according to industry sources.

In one mine operated by PT Bumi Resources, up to two million metric tons of coal is stolen by illegal miners and operators. At the prices of March 2014, the value of coal stolen from this mine would be about $150 Million per month.

The amount of coal being stolen  every three days in the province of South Kalimantan is enough to fill a vessel almost the size of the Chrysler Building in New York City.

Source:  Jesse Risborough, “Indonesia’s $6 Billion of Coal Mine Thefts Said to Widen,” Bloomberg, March 5, 2014.

A man from Pakistan was arrested in Indonesia while he was attempting to smuggling packs of heroin to Thailand. When arrested at the airport, the man had 767 capsules in his stomach that contained 966 grams of heroin.

(How much does heroin cost?)

According to criminal justice officials, the man reportedly stated that he was paid $15,000 to swallow the capsules and transport it from Indonesia to Thailand.

(More earnings from illegal jobs.)

Source:  “Drug smuggling ‘controlled from Thailand’,” Jakarta Post, March 7, 2014.

According to ProFauna, a wildlife charity, wildlife traffickers are offering wildlife for sale on websites catering to customers in Indonesia.

On the popular Indonesian forum site Kaskus, the NGO found at least 220 advertisements of wildlife for sale in the month of January 2014. Based on an analysis of the advertisements, researchers were able to identify at least 22 various types of rare wildlife and products. Among the wildlife animals available for purchase included sea turtles, elephant ivory, lemurs, tiger skins, cockatoo, and anteaters.

The lemur was being offered for sale for $16.80.

(More prices of exotic animals for sale.)

The traders who offer these animals come from various areas of the country.

Indonesia is not the only country where wildlife is available for sale. Previous reports mentioned that animals were being sold online to customers in Dubai and China.

Source:  Indra Harsaputra, “Govt told to block websites selling wildlife,” Jakarta Post, February 14, 2014.

According to statistics collected by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), at least 2,360 migrants died while attempting to cross borders around the world in 2013.

For sea-based crossing by boats, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa, and the waters surrounding Indonesia and Thailand saw a number of deaths of migrants attempting to cross borders.

For land-based traveling, the border between Mexico and the United States and the desert between West Africa and Libya were also considered to be dangerous routes for migrants.

The value of the black market in human smuggling was estimated to be worth $35 Billion a year industry, according to the IOM. This figure is higher than the previously $20 Billion estimate made in 2009.

Source:  “It’s Time to Take Action and Save Lives of Migrants Caught in Crisis,” International Organization for Migration, Press Release, December 17, 2013.

According to a survey conducted by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) in Indonesia, the Forest Ministry is viewed as being the most corrupt institution in the country.  The Commission found that illegal loggers buying logging permits through bribes were the most common form of corruption in the ministry.

Government data shows that 16 percent of logging permits that were issued by the ministry followed regulation and met all environmental requirements prior to being issued.

In addition to the forest ministry employees, workers from various criminal justice programs in Indonesia has also been found to have been participating in illegal logging. In May 2013, a police officer was arrested for running a $150 Million logging ring in the eastern Papua region. (Additional cases of police corruption.)

As many as two million hectares of Indonesian forest is cut down and lost each year. The amount of forest lost is equivalent to 10,000 football fields per day.

Source:  “Indonesia struggles to clean up corrupt forestry sector,” Bangkok Post, January 1, 2014.

In a span of two months, 52 people died in Indonesia after consuming alcohol tainted with methanol. Security investigations have found that bar owners have been mixing and producing their own alcohol on the black market in order to increase their profits.

Investigators with criminal justice programs have found that some producing have been using industrial strength methanol to increase the potency of alcoholic drinks. 10 milliliters of methanol is enough create formic acid in a person’s body and cause blindness. 30 milliliters, or the same amount as one shot of liquor, can kill a person.

Source:  Daniel A Witt, “Tackling Indonesia’s black market alcohol problem,” Jakarta Post, Opinion, December 14, 2013.