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Podiatrist caught up in crack down on foreign health professionals in Indonesia

Discussion in 'General Issues and Discussion Forum' started by Julie Norton, Feb 4, 2016.

  1. Julie Norton

    Julie Norton Member

    Members do not see these Ads. Sign Up.
    Jakarta, Thursday - Indonesia jails two Australian Chiropractors as dozens more flee the country.

    On 6 January 2016 Jakarta Governor Ahok ordered the closure of all medical facilities that are owned or operated by foreign practitioners. The ensuing melee saw multi-million dollar foreign investment businesses destroyed over night and professionals treated like common criminals paraded in orange prison garb before national TV audiences.

    Body Clinic, a podiatry practice operated by Peter and Julie Norton in metropolitan Jakarta was raided on 12 January by 30 Department of Health, Manpower, Police, Immigration and media. "It was a circus - they did everything but the commando roll through our front door" said local staff. "Dr Peter was man-handled in front of 4 and 6 year old clients who were screaming and crying "Mummy, mummy what are they doing to the doctor?" Peter was taken to Immigration for questioning that lasted five hours. It was terrifying."

    Peter said: 'On the way there the Immigration car carrying me and one of my local staff got into an altercation with a motorcyclist and its pillion. They started throwing food at the government vehicle. Suddenly the Immigration guy driving the car pinned the motorcycle to the curb then two of them jumped out of the car and beat the living daylights out of the scrawny pair and left them flailing in the gutter.'

    TV footage of the bust and accompanying media propaganda was broadcast every half hour until the 6 'bombs' went off on Thursday 14 January. [The following day the Indonesian broadcasting watchdog censured 7 broadcasters for inaccurate and sensationalist reporting - the 'bombs' in fact were grenades but it seems the Indonesian press doesn't let the truth doesn't get in the way of a good story].

    Peter Norton is a well known Australian podiatrist who counts among his clients 4 Australian Prime Ministers, 4 royal families, 2 Indonesian presidential candidates, loads of ambassadors and local VIPs. He and his wife Julie have resided in Jakarta since 2005. They opened Indonesia's first podiatry services on the recommendation of the Australian Government and a personal reference from former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam. "As challenging as it is working in Indonesia, the case load has been professionally very rewarding" said Dr Norton. "It's a country of flat feet and deformities - CTEV, metatarsus adductus, blounts, osteochondroses. It is so fulfilling to see a child walk normally and to know you have changed their life for the better forever.?

    'DepKes (Indonesian Department of Health) classifies the modality of podiatry as 'traditional health'. It was a surprise to us at the time to be included with witch doctors but that was the only way DepKes could provide Peter with a license to practice because medical services were off limits to foreigners' said Julie.

    She explained 'there has been a noticeable escalation of anti-foreign sentiment in the country since the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle took office in October 2014. One of their first tasks unbeknown to us expats was to set up a task force to track foreigners operating 'traditional health' clinics. In mid 2015 Manpower refused to renew Peter's 'Instructor' permit no doubt as a preliminary move prior to commencing the raids on 5 January 2016.'

    Initially Singapore based company Chiropractic First was targeted. The tragic death of a 33 year old chiropractic client in August 2015 was widely cited by the press as the catalyst for the raid. At the time of the incident no autopsy was performed because Moslems are interred the same day they die. Without an official cause of death Randall Cafferty DC, the chiropractor allegedly responsible was released.

    Dr Cafferty, who had previously been barred from practice in the USA due to a charge of malpractice, is now in the process of being extradited from the USA. The arrest by Interpol was made possible due to a belated exhumation and five hour graveside autopsy (in 32 degree celcius heat) two weeks ago. According to the agent acting on behalf of the Nortons and Dawsons, a delegation of DepKes officials camps outside Police headquarters daily to coerce police into naming 'chiropractic' as the cause of death in advance of Cafferty's arrival. Police have also named Matt Kan Wai Ming DC, owner of the Chiropractic First group as a suspect on account of hiring Cafferty without due dilligence.

    On 6 January Governor Ahok ordered all Chiropractic First clinics be closed - in total 10 practices across Jakarta.

    On 11 January another chiropractic company - Chiropractic Indonesia - was raided and the first of their six clinics was closed. The owner's brother Tom Dawson DC was taken to Immigration for questioning. The following day, DepKes threatened their Managing Director with permanent closure if they didn't voluntarily shut their doors.

    By mid January around 40 chiropractors in 5 or 6 companies had lost their jobs and left Indonesia. Another 300 or so local management and support jobs were terminated.

    On 27 January Chiropractic Indonesia's Australian Director Tony Dawson DC and his brother Tom were incarcerated in the central police lock-up in Jakarta. Since then they have been transferred to the narcotics prison. They are facing a long list of trumped up charges, in Tony's words in a letter to Family and Friends "the charges are count by count a mile long ? some laughable, some not at all."

    Julie Norton said 'for the most part, foreign practitioners and clinics operated under licenses and permits that were issued by Indonesian authorities - in Chiropractic Indonesia's case since 2002 and our case 2005. Any anomalies were administrative in nature and should not have been criminalized. The treatment Peter and his chiropractic colleagues have received by representatives of the Indonesian government and press in the last three weeks is a deplorable violation of basic human rights and it may well be asked: if it's been this easy to stitch up respected professionals, who's next?'

    The Nortons are awaiting a decision from Indonesian Immigration as to their status, whether they will be incarcerated, deported or allowed to carry on business as usual.
  2. Re: Breaking News

    Good luck, Julie; sounds like a horrid experience. Hope you're both ok.
  3. Julie Norton

    Julie Norton Member

    Re: Podiatrist caught up in crack down on foreign health professionals in Malaysia

    Thanks Mark. We appreciate your support.

    Things have a way of working out in Indonesia provided of course the right amount of money crosses the table. We'll wait and see.

    Apparently the Dawsons' lawyer is doing a good job at keeping the Aussie boys in Polda (police lock-up). A British DC Damian Le Roux has been transferred to real jail in Cipinang (Jakarta). He was working at one of the Chiropractic First clinics on a Tourist Visa.

  4. BEN-HUR

    BEN-HUR Well-Known Member

    Re: Podiatrist caught up in crack down on foreign health professionals in Malaysia

    Even though I do not know the full details... I can state that this is disgraceful conduct by the Indonesian government & press (to say the least)... but also I can say that I am not surprised such conduct is rife in such a backward region of the world. The Indonesian government (& press) would have to be one of the most corrupt governments around... riddled with morons (what would be clinically diagnosed imbeciles), paranoia, power hungry psychopaths, narcissists... fuelled by a barbaric, debasing & puerile ideology!

    What annoys the @#$%! out of me is that the Australian Government hands over millions of dollars aid to these corrupt morons! (http://dfat.gov.au/geo/indonesia/de...ages/development-assistance-in-indonesia.aspx). It's about time we stop such aid & let the morons look after themselves (but there lies part of the problem!). Those millions (see above link) can (& could have) serve better looking after the welfare of our own country... & others who deserve such assistance/aid.

    Anyhow... all the best with your plight Mr & Mrs Norton... & others who were apparently looking after the health of the citizens of this region.
  5. Re: Podiatrist caught up in crack down on foreign health professionals in Malaysia


    What a story! Hope you and Peter are OK after your ordeal.

    I still think fondly of the great time I had with you two on my first lecture trip to Australia in Sydney in April 2002. Please give my regards to Peter. I wish only the best for the both of you.
  6. Julie Norton

    Julie Norton Member

    Interesting how well you know the 'system' Matthew!

    Actually what I think needs to become a proper 'debate' is why on earth governments of developed nations persuade their citizens to pour foreign investment money into places that are almost guaranteed to lose abscond with your money.

    This is what the NZ Government says: http://asianz.org.nz/reports/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/21_Indonesia_and_its_signficance_for_nz.pdf

    This is what the Australian Government says: http://www.austrade.gov.au/Events/M...ns/Previous/indonesia-australia-business-week

    High profile foreign investment cases that ended in disaster include Churchill, Colgate, Chevron, Jakarta International School. The Australian Government just picked up the pieces of a BHP deal that went sour - you are not supposed to know about that.

    Any wonder - studies by the World Bank identified policy uncertainty, corruption, and lack of confidence in the court system as key worries.

    According to a Harvard Business Report companies such as Manulife, a Canadian insurance company, and PT Prudential Life Assurance were declared bankrupt by Jakarta courts over business disputes. After pressure from the international business community, the government had overturned the decisions and the judges were put under investigation.

    So what do you think? Is it ok?
  7. Julie Norton

    Julie Norton Member

    Re: Podiatrist caught up in crack down on foreign health professionals in Malaysia

    Thanks Kevin.
    J x
  8. BEN-HUR

    BEN-HUR Well-Known Member

    Yes, good point... but hey, if the government is doing it... what would one expect. It was this issue (in part i.e. foreign investment) which inspired thoughts being expressed in my previous post (but issues do lay on both sides - Indonesia's corruption & some foreign investment making use of it). Corruption within Indonesia's government (& civil services) is well known & documented...

    From the links previously cited... [http://dfat.gov.au/geo/indonesia/dev...indonesia.aspx]

    Hmmm... the above could go further into detail i.e. naming that "radicalisation".


    Yes... the symptoms are being outlined... but the diagnosis (underlying cause) not being named... & subsequently not being addressed. Then again... rarely does the underlying cause (primary cause/ultimate cause) gets addressed... just apply a band aid (patch-up job)... & the vicious cycle continues.

    In short, no - albeit a complex problem (many issues... including with some foreign investment)... evidently the (Australian) government's investment as well as corporate investment has been subject to corruption within Indonesia. Yet they should know the level of risk based on the history of conduct within this region (to say the least)... which makes this topic sooo frustrating (hence the issues on both sides). It is this conduct (influenced by other attributes i.e. a barbaric, debasing & puerile ideology) which is well & truly embedded in the nature of the environment in question (i.e. Indonesia's political 'system'). Speaking on environment (the nature kind)... this is being squandered also (for financial & political gain)... & the locals (people & animals) suffer... of which some foreign investors are equally to blame via making use of the known corruption within Indonesia's government & 'law authorities' (which I would speculate further & say could endorse an environment which then encourages such 'officials' to then exploit expats).

    Aid/assistance (in the millions) being thrown at Pakistan is another issue! Hey... if they (Pakistan) can afford to develop nuclear weapons then they sure as @#$% can afford to look after their own issues (mess)!

    But I don't want to detract from the initial cause of concern (i.e. health practitioners being unduly arrested) which instigated this thread (albeit, there is a connection).

    Once again I post the following meme...


    Is it any wonder movies like Gattaca appeal to me :rolleyes: .
  9. Julie Norton

    Julie Norton Member

    Hi Michael,

    Regarding expats being to blame by making use of corruption - in some cases I am sure this is so. But if you go down the track of forking over money they come back and back like a stray cat looking for milk.

    Here's a list of demands I've had to face:

    Jakarta Major's office told me I'd have to come up with USD 80,000 to get a commercial license on a building we leased - the landlord had provided a forgery - my stellar lawyer at the time said it was the real deal.

    BKPM (foreign investment board) told me I'd have to cough up additional paid up capital of USD 250,000 to extend my business license.

    Immigration wanted USD 10,000 last time Peter was deported. I said: No, take him! to his utter shock I might add. Anyway, as I predicted it was a revolving door - he came back in all sins forgiven 3 weeks later.

    This time Immigration has asked for USD 14,000 to overlook the issue of the work permit. I'm not what you'd call a soft touch. I don't pay bribes.

    The Chiropractors on the other hand coughed up USD 25,000 to get the brother's passport back. They got stiffed.

    This isn't what you'd call an easy environment to do business in. In the words of my business partner it's like walking across a busy 8 lane highway, blindfolded with your arms tied behind your back.
  10. Julie Norton

    Julie Norton Member

    Oh, I forgot to mention, they put me in the Polda (police lock up) once but didn't lock the door - looking for money. After about 3/4 hour I opened it and walked out. They stopped me and said 'Where are you going?' I said: "Home." They said: "You cant leave yet." I said: "Wanna bet, watch this" and just kept on walking. They fell about laughing themselves sick.

    They'd been harassing me for money for a few days - I knew it was coming so I put on my best violent orange Thai silk frock, Hugo Boss heels, Prada handbag and all my family jewels - gold, diamonds, pearls - I looked like a Christmas Tree - I thought if these buggers so much as put one finger on me I'm going to turn this into an International incident. They obviously thought better of it.
  11. BEN-HUR

    BEN-HUR Well-Known Member


    Yes... I thought this would be the case... which is why I wrote the following...
    Four questions:
    1. Have you sought help/guidance through the Australian Embassy?
    2. Is it worth it?
    3. Are you going to continue?
    4. Why was "Malaysia" in the initial title?
  12. admin

    admin Administrator Staff Member

    That was my mistake when I changed it to something that was more reflective of what the thread was about!
  13. Julie Norton

    Julie Norton Member

    Re Matthew's questions:

    1. Yes - I first called them on 15th January after the 'bombs' - they were completely unaware of the situation despite it being lead news on every local TV channel for 10 days and even reported in local English print press - the Embassy does not involve itself in commercial matters - unless of course you happen to be BHP - which for non-Australians is the largest mining company in the world.

    I also contacted DFAT in Canberra on 29th January. a) despite being the owner and director of the company they wouldn't discuss the matter with me because I'm out of the country and therefore not in immediate risk b) they told me if they got Peter's passport back from Indonesian Immigration they wouldn't release it to him until the Indonesian government indicated their investigations were concluded. Naturally I regarded their 'help' as a threat worse that leaving the passport with the Indonesians.

    2. No, it's not worth it. That's why I'm bringing the story to Podiatry Arena readers - so that they are fully aware of how things go down in places like Indonesia and stay away.

    3. We have local staff that have been really great. I want to keep the laboratory going at the very least. To be effective though it means that Peter needs to have the freedom to come and go so he can do quality control.

    4. Admin above answered this question.
  14. BEN-HUR

    BEN-HUR Well-Known Member

    Thanks Julie for your input here. All the best to you, husband & staff for the future.
  15. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.

  16. Julie Norton

    Julie Norton Member

    Thanks for the update NewsBot.

    No doubt clinics owned and operated by foreigners will find themselves no longer 'licensed'.

    Think about it - who in their right mind invests in multiple clinics in a foreign country without papers enabling them to operate?

    The Dawson brothers of Chiropractic Indonesia are still in the Polda lock-up despite having had nothing whatsoever to do with the death of the Chiropractic First client in August last year.
  17. fishpod

    fishpod Well-Known Member

    Sorry about all your troubles. message is stay away from 3rd world crapholes full of corrupt religeous whackjobs.
  18. Julie Norton

    Julie Norton Member

    Watch this space for an unbelievable update - likely tomorrow...
  19. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

  20. fishpod

    fishpod Well-Known Member

    god help us
  21. BEN-HUR

    BEN-HUR Well-Known Member

  22. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    He is promoting his services in Australia, but you have to go to Bali to get the actual treatment to circumvent Australia laws and his total lack of any resemblance of a qualification to do what he is doing! Given what the Indonesian authority's are doing to "licensed" health professional as discussed above, imagine what they could do to him. I do know that they have been made aware of him.
  23. cochrane.joe@gmail.com

    cochrane.joe@gmail.com Welcome New Poster

    Dear Julie and Peter,

    This is Joe Cochrane with The New York Times in Jakarta. I am doing a follow up story
    on the chiropractor crackdown, and would be very interested in speaking to you about your experience. Can you contact me at jcochrane@nytimes.com, so we can arrange a time to speak on the phone? best, Joe
  24. brekin

    brekin Active Member

    Hi Julie

    So sorry to hear all the trials and tribulations that you have to go through. How's the unbelievable update going?

  25. trevor

    trevor Active Member

    Good Luck Julie, chin up

    Look what is in todays news

    A former Queensland police officer has left Bali amid allegations he was offering to cure children of autism and other diseases despite having no medical training.

    Christopher William Savage returned to Amamoor in the Sunshine Coast hinterland after Indonesian medical authorities began investigating his activities last week, News Corp Australia reports
  26. Julie Norton

    Julie Norton Member

    Thanks Brett and Trevor,

    We have effectively been given a gag order.

    Lots going on but the fat lady hasn't sung yet.

  27. brekin

    brekin Active Member

    Thanks for keeping us informed Julie. I can't believe that this isn't a bigger news story in Australia.
  28. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.


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