Fri, Aug 04, 2006 - Page 5 News List

Indonesia deports five Saudis after sham marriages

FORBIDDEN The men were expelled after taking part in a scam whereby tourists marry local women on a short-term basis so they can have sex

DPA , JAKARTA

Indonesia has deported five Saudi men for entering into short-term marriages with local women so they could have sex, a newspaper reported yesterday.

Seven Saudi men were arrested on Monday near the West Java resort town of Bogor, where short-term marriage contracts between Muslim tourists and local women, called kawin kontrak, are widespread, the Jakarta Post reported.

"This country forbids people from engaging in contractual marriages," Suharyanto, head of immigration in Bogor, was quoted as saying.

"Moreover, they have misused their tourist visas by getting married instead of just spending their time on vacation," he said.

The five Saudis were deported on Wednesday. Suharyanto, who, like many Indonesians, uses only one name, did not disclose the status of the remaining two arrested Saudis.

Kawin kontrak is a long-standing scam in Bogor through which Muslim tourists marry Muslim Indonesian women for as short as a few weeks so they can have sex.

Women's rights activists argue the practice is a form of legalized prostitution.

Bogor's police chief, Senior Commander Sukrawardi Dahlan, promised to crack down on the practice but acknowledged it would be an uphill battle.

"The business of marriage in that area has become a deep-rooted culture for the people there," he was quoted as saying.

The issue was highlighted recently when Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla, during a trip to the Middle East, said there were benefits from short-term marriages, including improved welfare for the brides' families and handsome children from the unions.

He later claimed his remarks were in jest.

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