Timorese police (PNTL) again raided Indonesian and Chinese owned bars in Dili today at 1930hrs.
PNTL Officers from the Immigration Service raided suspicious bars run by Indonesian and Chinese nationals in Dili, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste.
In the Indonesian owned NADA Bar authorities found 8 workers to have abused their tourist visa and to be working without the correct permits. NADA Bar is notorious in Dili for being a place where prostitution is carried out. Despite this, the Government continues to issue business registration permits to the owners. The situation at NADA Bar is so well known that even the Church has raised its concerns with the Government.
In the Chinese owned MOON Bar the authorities found 11 women and 1 man to have entered as tourists but to be in fact working in the bar as prostitutes.
"They are here to serve some United Nations (UNMIT) staff and Timorese men", said a male Timorese client who wanted to remain anonymous. MOON Bar is complete with private rooms and toilets.
When the raid occurred several United Nations officials were found in a VIP room and refused to show their faces to the Tempo Semanal video crew when caught on camera.
Many women and girls working in the bar barricaded themselves in the bathrooms rather than give themselves up to authorities. They remained locked in the bathrooms for 30 minutes. PNTL officers patiently waited for them to walk out, out of 12 of them many had expired visas.
The MOON Bar is famous as a few months ago an elderly Timorese man was found dead from suspicious circumstances on the premises, as a result of what is believed to be sexual stamina medicine. After the man died the police closed the bar, but not long later it was allowed to reopen. The MOON Bar has been the subject of many raids over the years, and on many occasions the UN, UNPOL and PNTL allow it to continue to operate. Shortly after returning to Timor in 2007 UNMIT SRSG Atul Khare announced a zero tolerance policy for UN staff using such faciilities. His words appear to be an empty gesture.
Atul Khare: United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste, Empty Words.
Some members of the community and the Bishops have voiced their concerns about the activity in these bars.
Tempo Semanal has investigated those Timorese Government officials that visit the bars during work hours. A Timorese security guard told Tempo Semanal that during the day when the bar is closed Government officials visit, that is why the bar is closed. "After they finish their activities then they came out just put in my hand $60 and say, `buy cigarates'," explained the security guard. with a smile.