Reader Letter: TBI’s Mob Ties in Bekasi

Hi Sean!  Thanks for the note.  I’m not at Bekasi now, thank God.  Binsar, the guy who owns the franchise there, is a real piece of work.  I’m aware of six teachers who’ve been screwed by that guy.  He strings folks along with promises of KITAS and IMTAS, but never follows through after squeezing teachers for cheap pay and no transportation assistance.
I traveled daily from West Jakarta to Bekasi thinking he was going to bring me on.  My previous KITAS was about to expire and he promised to get me set up before that happened.  Then, with mere days to go before the deadline, he announced that he wasn’t going to do anything until after my old visa had been cleared.  Now, it’s a month-long ordeal to cancel a KITAS and get the tax audit finished.  I had days.  If I hadn’t had a friend at the immigration office in Balikpapan, I would have been completely screwed.  As it was, it cost me Rp18 million to grease the skids and was still two days late in getting to Singapore.
He’s done similar things to at least six other individuals, including screwing his former partner (bule) who put up most of the money to start the school.  There’s also a lot of shenanigans with students and accounting there.  I’ll get a friend of mine to fill you in on that stuff, since he saw more of it than I did.  He also got the KITAS shaft.
There appears to be a lot of mob ties behind the TBI chain here.  That’s where a lot of the money is going you talked about in the blog.  I know a lot of mafia here from working in the coal business, and believe me, TBI is tied in deep.  The English schools in Indonesia are little more than money laundering fronts, since it’s a cash business and the books are very easy to jigger without a trace.  You’d be amazed!  There was a big scandal with EF a few years back, and the government has been taking a little more interest in the schools lately.  That was part of the impetus, along with Penabur, for the new law about English degrees.  The rabbit hole goes much deeper.  I try to round up some good info for you.  After I quite teaching, I stopped investigating the whole thing, but I’ve got some good stuff around here somewhere.
Best of luck to you all.  I hope you can get some changes pushed through, but honestly be prepared for disappointment.  You’re fighting an uphill battle with the powers behind the scenes.  A lot of people make a lot of quiet money off those operations.

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