16-year-old Lexi Karakostas was blocked from entering Bali and had to spend eleven hours in the airport before she was sent home.
The teen flew from Melbourne to Indonesian island with a friend but did not get further than the immigration desk.
Lexi was one of the dozens of Australians turned away at Denpasar Airport in the past few months due to a tear in her passport.
A major crackdown by the Southeast Asian country also fined airlines US $5,000 for every passenger denied entry under their strict rule.
The 16-year-old said a customs officials took one look at her passport then pulled her aside. Speaking about the incident, she told Daily Mail: “The woman there said “look at the passport” to a man next to her and he took me to the immigration office.”
She was then asked if the passport was damaged during the flight but said that it happened in Europe where she toured without any problems.
“He said they were going to let me in but mark my passport so I couldn’t come back again with it,” Lexi said.
“But then the first lady from the desk nudged him and they talked in Indonesian. Then he had me follow him inside the office.”
Lexi sat in front of an immigration official who informed her she wouldn’t be allowed to enter Indonesia because her passport was damaged. The teen started to burst into tears as she was alone. Her friend and the friend’s dad were not allowed to see her.
“I was hysterical, I didn’t know what to do,” she expressed.
“It was scary, I was by myself in a country I’d never been in and didn’t have my family or friend there. It was traumatising,” she added.
“I don’t understand the rule or what it’s for. They never explained it.”
Lexi’s passport was not returned until she was on the Jester flight. Her mother Susan Karakostas said she was surprised when her daughter called her crying.
“As tourists, we respect their laws and regulations and respect the decision they made,” she said.
“However, we’re upset with Qantas because they were aware of the issue and they should have said something in Melbourne.
“I called the embassy and they said it’s happened to a lot of Australians as Indonesia appears to be cracking down, especially in the last month.”
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