Police in Bali have announced the arrest of three construction workers who stole tourists’ bags at Batu Bolong Beach in Canggu. The three young men, known by their initials DG, 26, DMF, 32, and FI, 20, are in Bali for work but are from Garut Regency in West Java.
Speaking at a press conference, North Kuta Police Chief Kompol Putu Diah Kurniawan told reporters that the three men were arrested on Thursday, 15th December, at 8.30 pm. At the time of the arrest, they were found in possession of the missing bag and most of the stolen contents.
Kompol Kurniawan said, “The perpetrators were arrested at a construction worker’s bedsit on Jalan Pemelisan Agung, Banjar Brawa, Tibubeneng Village, North Kuta District, Badung”.
The bag belonged to a Polish tourist with the initials MP, aged 25, and another to her friend whose initials have not been shared with the press. MP and her friends are said to have left their bags on the beach while they went for a dip in the ocean. This was around 4.30 pm.
When the group of friends exited the water, they returned to find that two of their sling bags were missing. The police listed the stolen items at the press conference, including two iPhones, one passport, and IDR 1 million in cash (USD 65). In total, the victims lost IDR 38 million (USD 2440) of goods.
They immediately reported the missing items to the North Kuta Police. The police acted swiftly and launched a successful investigation. Led by the Head of the Criminal Investigation Unit, Iptu Mohammad Amir, the police team managed to track down the three men at a boarding house in Banjar Brawa within 5-hours.
Police have confirmed that the three men were charged with Article 362 of the Criminal Code, which carries a maximum sentence of 5 years. They remain in police custody. Police in Bali are increasingly aware of crime against tourists and have spoken to the media many times this year about the importance of reporting the crime to the authorities.
Online there are anecdotal reports that police rarely recover stolen items or catch thieves. Yet, in reality, in many cases, justice is served when crimes are reported to the authorities.
Police in Bali, especially in areas like Kuta, Legian, Seminyak, and Canggu, are working hard to stamp out crime. In recent months police teams from Badung Regency have been open about the steps they are taking to reduce crime in the island’s popular tourist areas. Even in areas like Ubud, police have confirmed that they will be increasing security efforts around the Christmas and New Year holidays.
Speaking to the media last week, the Head of the Gianyar Regency Police, Kompol Tomiyasa, said that a joint effort would be made to ensure that security is tightened around churches and tourist attractions in Ubud and across the Regency. He said, “We, together with the TNI [will] carry out visits or monitoring of churches and tourist attractions ahead of Christmas and the New Year as an effort by the Gianyar Police to maintain security and order before, during, and after Christmas and the New Year”.
News that police in Ubud are increasing security efforts comes just weeks after reports of a bag snatching on the Jalan Monkey Forest. Two travelers, one from Australia, and the other from Hong Kong, were walking back to the Alaya Resort Ubud between 9 pm and 9.15 pm on the 23rd of November when a thief on a moped rode up alongside them and ripped one of their bags from around their neck. They immediately reported the incident to the police, and an investigation was launched.
Security efforts have been increased across Bali Province ahead of the Christmas and New Year holidays. Police have also been conducting raids following up on intel around drugs that have been sent to Bali for distribution around the party season.
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