Shocking footage is circulating online that shows a taxi driver in Bali threatening two American tourists.
In the three-minute video, the driver ignores the women’s demands to be let out of the vehicle, tries to extort USD 50 from them, and threatens them with what appears to be a knife.
The video starts mid-argument between the taxi driver and the two women. The women first ask the driver to take them to the police station.
They offer to pay IDR 50,000 but he demands USD 50. It is not clear how long the tourists had been in the vehicle before the altercation broke out or where they were going.
The women repeatedly ask the driver to let them out of the car.
As the argument becomes more heated, the driver locks the vehicle and the electric windows so that the women cannot get the attention of people outside the vehicle.
The women scream for help and threaten to call the US embassy.
What is confusing is that the driver asks for IDR 50,000, then USD 50, then goes back to asking for IDR 50,000 which the women offer to him, and then he demands USD 50 again.
The driver makes a gesture as if to cut his throat, and a moment later he turns in his seat and tries to hit the woman in the back seat.
In the latter half of the video, he appeared to be holding a knife tucked in his hand on the other side of the steering wheel.
After 3-minute the driver eventually unlocks the doors and the women scream to catch the attention of passersby and are able to escape the vehicle.
However, the driver is still demanding more money even after the women had handed over all the cash they had on them.
The footage has caught the attention of locals and tourists sparking outrage and reigniting the longstanding argument for allowing tourists to be able to use online taxi services everywhere on the island specifically because of the safety features and mandatory driver background checks.
Bali tourism expert Wayan Puspa Negara responded to the video and is calling on the authorities to track this driver down as quickly as possible.
Negara said, “The behavior of these individuals has seriously tarnished Bali tourism in the midst of increasing tourist visits to Bali.”
Negara continued “Strict sanctions must be given to this kind of thing. I condemn the driver’s behavior so that he is immediately arrested and processed legally as quickly as possible. Because the victim is of course the image of Bali and Balinese society at large.”
“I’m sure the police have paid attention to this, it shouldn’t be difficult to catch him because the characteristics of the perpetrator and his vehicle have been clearly recorded on video.”
He added, “In a situation like this, it would be better for the Head of the Bali and Badung Regional Tourism Office to take strategic steps in strengthening tourism development in Bali.”
“With balanced non-physical development such as education, coaching for the community supporting the destination, including drivers, guide, freelancers or other things which have almost never been implemented.”
The identity of the driver has not yet been established though the vehicle he was driving had the number plate DK 1841 AAX.
Major public figures in Bali and Indonesia have been tagging the authorities in the videos online in hopes that this individual can be tracked down and held to account.
Late last year the Bali Provincial Government announced a new transportation consortium, called Kreta Bali Smita, which will eventually standardize the tourist transportation market in Bali.
However, incidences such as this only serve to give more credibility to tourist’s calls for online taxi providers such as GoJek and Grab to be used everywhere on the island for pick-up and for drop-off journeys.
At many of Bali’s most popular resorts and tourist attractions, local taxi drivers have put bans in place to prevent online taxi drivers from picking up tourists.
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