The Belakang Padang immigration office in Batam, Riau Islands, has beefed up immigration surveillance across outer islands bordering Singapore ahead of the Christmas and New Year's holidays to anticipate any illegal foreign arrivals or people-smuggling attempts.
Belakang Padang immigration's head of supervision and enforcement unit, Washono, said his office would also conduct door-to-door visits across the region to check on foreign nationals -- either those visiting Belakang Padang on vacation or for employment opportunities.
"Ahead of the Christmas and New Year holidays, we'll conduct direct supervision across the islands that are popular destinations for foreigners to prevent people smuggling," Washono told The Jakarta Post on Monday.
According to Washono, there are a total of 78 inhabited islands in Belakang Padang district -- including Belakang Padang Island, Sambu Island, Nirup Island and Manis Island, which attract tourists and job seekers.
"This week, we will also inspect Siali Island, which is located close to Singapore. The island is very strategic and, therefore, monitoring is essential," Washono said.
The number of foreign visitor arrivals in Belakang Padang, particularly those from Singapore and Malaysia who enter Indonesia via Batam, is relatively high although Belakang Padang has neither immigration checkpoints nor international arrival facilities, according to the immigration office.
Belakang Padang immigration officers last year recorded one case of an immigration violation involving a Singaporean national who was subsequently deported.