22 November 2017

Two held over murder of elderly Dutch man in Bali

Two men have been arrested over the murder of an elderly Dutch man whose decomposing body was found at his home on the Indonesian holiday island of Bali. The corpse of Robert Gilhooad, 80, was found on   November 3 at his rental property in Jimbaran, a resort area in the southern part of the island. An autopsy concluded the Dutch expatriate had been murdered, said policeman Aris Purwanto, the region’s criminal investigative chief. “He had injuries to the left of his head,” he told AFP, adding that the perpetrator had used a steel object.

Two suspects have been detained in connection with the crime, Purwanto said, without providing names. Police believe there was a monetary motive for killing Gilhooad, a long-term Bali resident who lived alone. The murder is the second in as many months in Jimbaran, a fishing village famous for its seafood restaurants. An elderly Japanese couple were found slashed and burned beyond recognition at their home on September 4. Petty crime is common on Bali, a popular tourist destination known for its tropical climate and palm-fringed beaches, but grisly murders are rare. [Expatica.com November 12, 2017]


Bali set to shut up shop to Aussie bikies

Bali has signalled it could be about to shut its doors to Australian bikies after the national president of the Finks was told this week he was not welcome on the holiday island because of his links to a “dangerous” gang. Former Perth resident Kosh Radford, aka Koshan Rashidi, arrived in Bali on Wednesday night with his wife, infant child and mother-in-law, but was immediately stopped by immigration officers and refused entry. He was sent straight back to Sydney on the next available flight.

Bali’s immigration chief Ari Budijanto yesterday confirmed Mr Radford had been banned from entering the island, saying it was his gang links that prompted the decision. “Foreigners that are allowed to enter Indonesia are those who are beneficial for Indonesia,” Mr Budijanto said. “Foreigners who are rejected from entering Indonesia are foreigners that allegedly could causes restlessness and disturb national security.” The decision is likely to cause concerns for many WA-based bikies whose gangs have been heavily expanding their operations into Bali in recent years. The Rebels, Finks and Bandidos are just some of the clubs that have established permanent “chapters” on the island. Some senior members are also believed to have invested heavily in real estate and local businesses such as bars and nightclubs.

Authorities in Australia refused to say yesterday if they had tipped off their Indonesian counterparts about Mr Radford’s travel plans. “Any decision to deny a person’s entry into a country is a matter for authorities in that country,” an Australian Federal Police spokesman said. But a document shown in Bali that appeared to be from Australian officials advises of the time and flight number that Mr Radford was due to arrive on. “Finks National President Kosh Radford … is departing Australia today, Wednesday 8 November 2017 on QF43 arriving Denpasar at 8.20pm,” the document said. Balinese authorities were also supplied with a picture of Mr Radford to help identify him when he arrived. [Perth Now November 10, 2017]


Lightning strike instantly kills two surfers

A single lightning strike in Bali instantly killed two surfers on their boards, authorities in Indonesia say. Belgian-born former soccer pro Denis Dasoul was killed along with his surfing instructor at Batu Bolong beach in Canggu on Sunday when the bolt of lightning hit as they were finishing a training session, 9 News reports. Witnesses say the men, who had been sitting up on their boards, fell into the water after the lightning strike, which turned parts of their bodies blue, apparently from bruising.

The Mirror describes the day as gray and drizzly, but reports the bolt was an unexpected one. Police say both men were “dead on the spot.” Dasoul, who played for soccer clubs in Belgium, Austria, and Italy during his pro career, had been living in Melbourne, Australia, and working as a project manager since 2011. “Denis was a marvelous person who lived every day like it was the last,” says a friend, journalist Pascal Scime, per the Herald Sun. “He was always smiling and joking. A very nice guy. He was in Bali for holidays with his girlfriend.” The beach is described online as one of the best places to learn to surf in Bali. [Fox News November 8, 2017]


Threat of Mt Agung eruption downgraded

Mt Agung, an active volcano and the highest point on the island of Bali, Indonesia, has had its threat of eruption downgraded, bringing relief to hundreds of thousands of Balinese residents and tour operators. The volcano, located approximately 60km north-east of Sanur, had its alert status raised in September following a series of tremors in the surrounding area, peaking at over 1,000 per day according to reports. As many as 150,000 residents were evacuated from the local area, and tourist hotspots throughout the popular holiday island have suffered huge losses in the wake of international travel advisories, and fears that Denpasar airport may close as a result of an ash cloud caused by the eruption.

According to the Bali Hotel and Restaurant Association, at least 5,000 October bookings were cancelled as a result of the increased threat level, accounting for a 20 per cent loss of business to the island, which relies heavily on travel and tourism to support the economy. As a result of the original warning and subsequent 12km exclusion zone, some dive spots were unavailable, including Tulamben, home of the world-famous wreck of the USAT Liberty.

The exclusion zone has now been reduced to 6km around the volcano, meaning that Tulamben is open again, although some dive centres have not returned immediately and are continuing to monitor the situation. Other locations such as Padang Bai, Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida are all well outside the exclusion zone (and 30 mins offshore from Bali, in the case of Lembongan and Penida) and have always been deemed as safe to travel. Amed is also well outside the exclusion zone, although some operators suspended trips there during the highest threat level.

Local scientists continue to monitor the volcano, and updates are provided by the Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation on a regular basis. Many residents whose homes were in the original exclusion zone have been allowed to return home. Dive centres and other tour operators in the region started the #IaminBaliNow campaign to draw attention to the fact that, despite the threat from Mt Agung, Bali is perfectly safe to travel and for most people, it’s business as usual. [Dive Magazine November 14, 2017


Acrobat lands in Taiwan for surgery on medevac after breaking neck from equipment failure at Canggu beach club

The American acrobat who broke her neck after a performance in Bali went terribly wrong, has finally arrived in Taiwan on medevac so she can get operated on by specialists. Aerial acrobatic performer “Sam Panda” dropped down 13 feet and landed directly on her head and neck when equipment failed and a hoop suddenly plummeted to the ground at a performance in Canggu on Oct. 26 at Finns Beach Club. The entire horrifying moment was caught on video. In addition to breaking her neck-in several places-the woman also got a shard of bone stuck in her spinal cord, preventing her from walking.

Now, 12 days since the incident, Panda has made it to Taiwan for her surgery, according to an update posted on Wednesday to the GoFundMe page that’s raised over US$58,000 to help fund her medevac and pay her mounting medical costs. “After probably the longest 12 days of our beloved Sam’s life, she has flown and arrived safely in Taiwan. She is scheduled for surgery and so will be offline for a bit due to travel, surgery, and recovery,” reads an update on the crowdfunding page, which is now titled “Rig fails, Sam breaks neck, HELP!”.

The whole issue of Panda’s insurance status has been complicated. Her crowdfunding page originally stated that she was insured by her employer but the insurance did not cover the medevac. Later, in an update posted on Sunday to the page, it was written that Panda was being evacuated to Taiwan where she could use her husband’s insurance, as he is Taiwanese. However, on Monday it was discovered that Panda was no longer insured in Taiwan because of her time spent out of the country. “Unfortunately because she left the country to perform for almost an entire year, her marriage visa expired and was not renewed because she was not in Taiwan to do it. Because of this, she DOES NOT have medical insurance in Taiwan until the marriage visa is reinstated. “Because the surgery will need to be done immediately, Sam and her husband will have to pay for this out of pocket as well,” the update explains.

A message from the patient herself was also posted to the update, thanking everyone for being so “amazing and supportive.” “To my friends and family, I love you all very much. Thanks for being so insanely awesome. “The road to recovery finally begins today. I love you all,” Panda wrote before going into surgery. [Coconuts Bali November 8, 2017


Indonesia, Morocco Step Up Cooperation Ahead of King’s Visit

Indonesia will host King Mohammed VI on Dec. 7-8, during the Bali Democracy Forum (BDF-X) gathering, where the monarch will deliver the keynote speech.

According to Syarief Syamsuri, Indonesia’s ambassador to Morocco and Mauritania, this is the first visit by a Morocco king since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1960. “King Mohammed VI’s visit will be the first by Morocco’s head of government.

There hasn’t been a return visit since President Sukarno’s visit to Morocco in 1960. … We are expecting stronger ties between the two countries, and we need an agreement between the president [Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo] and King  Mohammed VI for future priorities in our cooperation,” Syarief said, adding that the cooperation will focus on trade, investment and halal tourism.

According to a statement by the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs, the Indonesian government and the Kingdom of Morocco “will focus on developing wind and solar-based energy.” [Jakarta Globe November 13, 2017]


Bad behaviour sees two air passengers denied boarding by security officials in Bali

A number of poorly behaved passengers have recently been denied board on departing international flights from Bali’s Ngurah Rai Airport. NusaBali reports that the two passengers who failed to fly from Bali were a drunken Russian tourist and an Indian national who made a jest about a bomb during the embarkation process.

The Russian traveler, Pavel Plakhutin (34), was taken into custody by airport security on Tuesday, November 7, 2017, while preparing to depart on Qatar Airways QR-965 bound for Doha. Officials deemed the unruly Russian was too inebriated to board the aircraft without posing a safety threat to himself and other passengers.

In a separate earlier incident on Monday, November 6, 2017, an Indian national Shyamsukha Aditya was also taken into custody by security official when he uttered the phrase “she look bomb” during the security screening process in Terminal 2 of Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport.

When security personnel heard the word “bomb” the reaction was instantaneous with Shyamsukha taken into custody and denied boarding on AirAsia QZ-510 bound for India. During the resulting interviews with police and security officials, Shyamsukha was accompanied by a representative from the Indian Consulate in Bali.

Officials assured the man would be released into the custody of the Consul if they can determine that the word “bomb” was uttered in jest. Shyamsukha insists he was only praising the trendy fashion style of a fellow passenger when he said, “she look bomb.” [www.balidiscovery.com

November 10, 2017]


250 Balinese Hindus climb Mount Agung to make ritual and animal offering to the volcanic crater

On Thursday, November 2, 2017, some 235 Hindu devotees in Bali ignored danger zones in effect for the Mount Agung Volcano and climbed to the crater to make “Pakelem” sacrificial offerings of live animals to the Almighty – Ida Sang Hyang Widhi.

Beginning the challenging climb before sunrise, the worshipper arrived at the crater’s rim at around 10:00 am with a buffalo sporting golden horns, a white goose and a chicken in tow to sacrifice to God.

7 priests, led by Jero Mangku Ada, conducted the required religious rites. What was already a consecrated and solemn atmosphere, took on added air of mystery when an estimated 250 wild monkeys joined the procession to the crater, far removed from the lower, more verdant elevations usually preferred by the primates.

As reported by Balipost.com, while the group of Balinese chanted prayers and made offerings, those in attendance saw steam and smoke seep from the crater while rumblings, said to resemble the sound of a passing jet aircraft, were sounding from the crater.

A sulfuric odor was much in evidence as the worshippers neared the volcano’s peak, causing many to don facemasks to lessen the stench. Once in place and praying on the volcano’s rim, the prayerful were buffeted continually by strong cold winds blowing at the 3,031-meter high altitude of the Mountain’s peak. [www.balidiscovery.com November 3, 2017]


Bali designer sunnies thief Thomas Harman headed home

A Perth man who admitted stealing a pair of designer sunglasses in Bali is on his way home. Thomas Harman couldn’t wipe the smile off his face as he headed to the airport to fly back to Perth on Monday. The 31-year-old was facing up to five years in Bali’s notorious Kerobokan Prison – where some of Indonesia’s most dangerous criminals are housed – after taking a pair of $400 Gucci sunglasses from a duty-free store at Denpasar Airport in July.

Mr Harman had argued he simply forgot he was holding the sunglasses when he exited the store, because he was nervous for his upcoming flight. After three months and 15 days behind bars awaiting sentencing, Mr. Harman says he is looking forward to just “chilling” back in Perth. “(I’m) over the world, over the moon, (laughs),” he said. “(The prison) was great, great art program, great people.” Mr Harman was sentenced to three months jail for the theft last week. [Perth Now November 13, 2017]