A 23-year-old Australian tourist currently on holiday in Bali has taken to social media to tell the world about her violent ordeal. Eliza Whitford, from Melbourne, was violently attacked during her stay on the Island of the Gods, in a crime that is being reported all too frequently.
Whitford, who is a physiotherapy student and Pilates instructor, is on holiday in Bali with her boyfriend. She and her partner were driving a moped through the popular tourist destination when their blissful time away turned terrifying.
Whitford recalls how she saw a man on a moped appear from nowhere and drive up beside them. To her horror, he pulled out a knife and slashed at her bag that was hanging across her body. Only the thief did not simply cut through the bag strap, he sliced into Whitford’s thigh leaving her with a serious wound. The attacker swiftly grabbed the bag and rode away.
She posted a video on her private TikTok account describing the events and although she seemed annoyed and upset by the situation, appears to be calm and collected. Whitford did not give any more details about whether she has reported the incident to Bali Police, or whether she had any hopes of getting her belongings back.
In a reply to a concerned comment on her TikTok post, Whitford wrote ‘Insane! Pretty much was just on the scooter with my boyfriend and he came right up next to us on a bike and cut my bag off/leg in the process’. To add insult to actual injury, Whitford is also nursing a nasty mosquito bite on her eyelid that has become red and swollen.
Later in the video, she explains how she had ‘no idea’ that this kind of attack was commonplace in Bali. Similar bag slashing attacks have also resulted in stab wounds for dozens of travelers in recent years. These crimes happen in rural and urban areas.
Attackers usually target tourists, or anyone who appears to be foreign, and is driving with a bag, phone, camera, or wallet that is easy to grab or cut away. These attackers sadly have plenty of experience and know exactly how to sidle up to a moped driver without them noticing, snatch the target and speed away with little care for the safety of the victim and the passenger.
According to the Daily Mail, during Bali’s last operational peak season in 2019, an Australian tourist and his teenage daughter were attacked by two local men who tried to snatch their iPhones while they were driving. Andrew Bateman and his 17-year-old daughter, Hannah, ended up in hospital after being dragged from the bike during the attack.
Hannah is reported to have been left with a fractured wrist and serious gashes down her legs. Bateman told the newspaper that he and his daughter were in ‘too much pain’ to go to the police and didn’t want to visit an Indonesian hospital, instead, the pair flew home at the earliest opportunity and the crime went unreported.
Just last week an Indian tourist had her iPhone stolen from her hand outside the Bali Galleria Mall by a man driving a moped. Fortunately, Lalith Kumar Daga Chhagan Lal, 35, was unharmed and reported the incident to the police immediately.
Bali Police were able to track down and arrest the thief, named as I Wayan G, who admitted to being a serial thief during interrogation. They were also able to return her phone in one piece.
Travelers are reminded to keep their valuables out of sight while walking and driving in busy, and touristic areas. If travelers need to carry a bag with them, they are encouraged to stash it away in the moped seat where possible and avoid wearing cross-body handbags.
Should travelers become the victim of a crime like Whitford, they are encouraged to report the incident to Bali Police as soon as possible so that action can be taken and criminals will be held to account. The pone number for Bali Emergency Services is 112 and Bali Police can be reached on 110.
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