Police in Bali are cracking down on thieves who have been targeting foreign tourists. Late last week Kuta Police arrested two local men who had launched dozens of targets attacks on tourists in the popular tourist destination.
The police announced the arrests of the men, only known by their initials, on Saturday 9th July. IWJ, 24, and IKB, 25, were arrested after a German tourist reported a robbery to the local police. Fatih Berberoglu, 28, believed to be on holiday in Bali with his wife, was driving a moped along Jalan Raya Seminyak Kuta on Thursday 7th July.
The Denpasar Police Chief AKBP Bambang Yugo Pamungka told local reporters ‘During the attack, the perpetrators rode a motorbike and approached the victim and forcibly took the victim’s cellphone. The perpetrator immediately drove away with a black iPhone 12 Pro brand cellphone with a victim loss of Rp 15 million’
Berberoglu, despite his shock, got away without injury and reported the attack to Kuta Police. AKBP Pamungka told the press that following the report the Head of Kuta Polsek, Kompol Orpa SM Takalapeta, and the Head of the Criminal Investigation Unit AKP I Nyoman Sudarma set to work to investigate the report and track down the attackers.
Fortunately, Berberoglu had ‘Find My iPhone’ enabled on his phone and was able to help the police to track down the movements of the thieves. The police team located the duo at the local gas station and was able to catch them red-handed. The police arrested the pair in possession of Berberoglu’s iPhone 12 Pro.
Police then took IWJ and IKB in for questioning at Kuta Police Headquarters. During the interrogation, they confessed to stealing Berberoglu’s phone during the heavy-handed attack. Kuta’s Police Chief told the press that the duo have been found to have committed a string of similar attacks in the area. He said ‘The perpetrators have committed 12 thefts in the Seminyak, Legian and Sunset Road areas, Kuta, Badung’.
During the arrests, the police also seized a black Yamaha NMax scooter believed to be the getaway vehicle. The two remain in police custody and are facing considerable jail time when they appear in court for sentencing.
Last week police in Ubud were able to arrest another pair of young men who had been running similar attacks in Denpasar, Ubud, and Mas Village. The pair, I Wayan Mandi, 18, and I Nengah Buyung, 22, are both from Tianyar Tengah Village in Karangasem Regency. During their interrogation, it came to light that they had been running their operation for some time and had attacked dozens of unwitting moped drivers and snatched their phones or bags.
The police told reporters that Mandi and Buyung targeted foreigners, both holidaymakers and long-term foreign residents, much like IWJ and IKB. Reporters heard how the duo looked for anyone following GoogleMaps as this made it easy for them to drive up beside the driver and snatch the phone.
These arrests come as welcome news as reports of these kinds of crimes had been on the rise in the last few weeks. Both local and international newspapers have covered the stories of terrified tourists who have had their phones snatched while driving mopeds through Bali’s busy tourist hotspots.
One traveler, Eliza Whitford from Melbourne was stabbed by her attacker as she rode on the passenger seat of her boyfriend’s moped. Whitford was attacked in the Canggu area and reports suggested that she has little success in getting her belongings back.
Travelers are being reminded to drive with caution and to keep any valuables such as phones, wallets, and GoPros out of sight and reach while driving. If travelers become the victim of any kind of crime they are urged to report it to the local police so that they can work to get criminals off the streets.
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