Bali police have arrested a 25-year-old man concerning the theft of a mobile phone. The device belongs to a 21-year-old Australian school teacher on holiday on the island. According to North Kuta Police, this was another incident of a phone snatching at the back of a moped.
The Badung Police Chief, AKBP Leo Dedy Defretes, spoke with local reporters on the afternoon of 21st September. He said his teams had successfully arrested Komang Manik, 25, at his home on Jalan Mertandi, Kerobokan, North Kuta. Defretes said, ‘The perpetrator took the cellphone and immediately ran away’. He confirmed that the theft was driving a moped and snatched the phone from the hands of the victim while she was also on the back of a moped.
The victim, known by her initials FP, immediately contacted the police. She provided a description, and on Sunday 11th September, police were able to make an arrest. During the raid on Manik’s home, police recovered FP’s iPhone 11 and located the Honda PCX moped used as the getaway bike. Manik attended the police press conference on Wednesday afternoon. He wore a white face mask and an orange prison t-shirt with the number 10 written on it. He did not speak and kept his eyes looking at the floor.
Deflates told reporters that Manik is a trial phone thief and that his actions were intentional. He said, ‘This perpetrator has been marked for a long time because he often carries out his actions’. Manik has been charged with Article 365 of the Indonesian Criminal Code and is awaiting sentencing.
He faces up to nine years in prison for the accumulation of thefts he has committed. There is little more about Manik, other than that, he is originally from Tianyar Village, Karangasem Regency in East Bali. Police did not confirm a date for his sentencing.
Tourists in Bali are reminded to keep their valuables out of sight, especially when driving mopeds in tourism hotspots. While Bali is well known for being a safe and welcoming holiday destination, a spate of such bag and phone snatching have been bought to the attention of the police. While authorities work to round up those responsible for these kinds of incidents, travelers are encouraged to take small but impactful actions to help prevent them from becoming victims.
Travelers are reminded not to hold their phones on show when they are a passenger on a moped and that it is illegal to drive a moped or vehicle while using their phones. Bags should be put under the seat of the moped where possible too. Police and local leaders in Kuta have increased patrols in the area to help deter criminals and increase safety.
Although this incident happened in Kuta, there have been reports of phone snatching across Bali tourism hotspots, including Canggu, Legian, and Ubud. Two tourists were saved by local people who started videoing an attempted phone robbery on Jalan Poppies in early August.
A pair of phone thieves accosted two travelers who were believed to be walking home from a night out in Kuta. During the clip, the preparators realize they are being recorded and back down as the tourists exclaim their outrage at the incident.
Head of Badung Police AKBP Defretes told reporters in August that ‘‘The revival of tourism after being hit by the Covid-19 pandemic is overshadowed by the increasing street crime. In a time of [peak lockdown for] Covid-19, street crime is almost non-existent. When Bali reopened to tourists, the mobility of tourists in North Kuta increased sharply. Street crimes are starting to overshadow this situation’. He confirmed that his teams and local leaders will be increasing patrols in the area from mid-August to the end of the year.
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