Canggu residents have come to the aid of a tourist who had her phone and bag snatched by two young thieves on Tuesday 14th, February. Videos of the scene quickly circulated on social media and local WhatsApp groups. The two young men, known by their initials FB and RK are 23 and 21, respectively. After being detained by local residents, the thieves were handed over to North Kuta Police.
The two men were apprehended by local citizens at around 3 pm on Tuesday afternoon. Residents launched themselves on the two thieves as they tried to snatch the phone and bag of a foreign woman and then tried to flee the scene. The location of the video has been confirmed as Jalan Raya Padang Linjong, Banjar Padang Linjong, in Canggu Village.
In the videos circulating online, the two men were tackled from their motorcycles, onto the ground, and detained with their hands tied behind their backs. They put up little fight as they were held by the community until the police arrived. Police have confirmed to the media that the duo is still in police custody today, Wednesday, 15th February and that they are waiting for a witness statement from the victim before proceeding further.
In a statement released to the media, the Chief of Public Relations of Bali Police, Kombes Pol Stefanus Satake Bayu Setianto, said “The video that’s circulating actually happened in Canggu. Currently still under investigation by North City Police. No evidence has been secured, as both have not been able to pull the victim’s bag. In addition, the victim has not made a police report.”
This was not the first incident of its kind in recent days. Exactly seven days ago, local pecalang apprehended a bag and phone thief in Banjar Tagaljaya Dalung in North Kuta. In a video circulating on local social media citizen news sites, the suspected thief can be seen being paraded out of his villa and onto the street.
Unfortunately, bag and phone snatchings are not uncommon in Bali, especially in busy tourist resort areas like Canggu and Kuta. There is now speculation online as to whether Tuesday’s driveby robbery will prompt Badung Police to increase patrols in Canggu. Following a violent attack on a young couple in Kuta on Monday 16th January, Badung Police pledged to increase the number of tourism police officers on patrol in the area and increase the duration of each patrol shift.
Speaking last month, the Head of Kuta Police, Kompol Yogie Pramagita, told reporters that a group of young men from Java had been hassling a young couple out on a date on Kuta Beach. He said that the situation quickly escalated after the male partner of the couple dismissed the aggressive requests for money from the gang. The group of five men subsequently attacked the young couple, leaving them both requiring hospital treatment.
In July 2022, a 23-year-old tourist from Australia was stabbed in the leg by a thief who tried to slash the straps of her bag. Eliza Witford, from Melbourne, took to social media to share the terrifying ordeal. She was riding a moped and told her followers how another moped sidled up beside her and tried to stash the bag from across her torso. As the thief cut through the bag straps, he also slashed Whitford’s leg.
Police in Bali are steadfast that tourists who are victims of crime must come forward and tell the police. More often than not, they are able to quickly track down the offender, recover stolen items and hold the criminal to justice. In the event that a tourist becomes the victim of a crime in Bali, they are advised to report the incident to local police as soon as possible. The phone number for Bali Emergency Services is 112, and Bali Police can be reached at 110.
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