August 2, 2017

Australian man detained after causing chaos at Bali airport

An Australian man was detained for creating a scene at Bali’s international airport on Tuesday (July 18), shouting and screaming as he stood on the narrow outer edge of a ledge in the departure hall. After a 90-minute standoff near the Coffee Club outlet, the man, identified as 46-year-old Gregory Butler, was wrestled back to safety by another man who had tried to negotiate with him.

As he was taken away by authorities, Butler told reporters he had never intended to jump from the ledge. “I didn’t want to jump. I was standing on the edge. Would you jump?” Butler was quoted by Perth Now as saying. Instead, he suggested that he had been trying to highlight corrupt Australian government officials. “I wanted to bring attention to (a) certain situation regarding government officials. That’s why I thought I could do it,” Butler reportedly said.

Authorities later said that anti-depressants had been found in Butler’s bag and he had been taken to hospital for medical psychiatric tests.  Butler had reportedly also caused the cancellation of an AirAsia flight on Monday. Airport officials said Butler had been on flight AK379 from Denpasar to Kuala Lumpur on Monday night. As the plane was taxiing, Butler reportedly knocked on the cockpit door, saying someone wanted to kill him. The pilot decided to turn back and the flight was cancelled. Butler was kept overnight at the airport authority office for investigations. [Channel NewsAsia July 19, 2017]


Toddler will never recover after near drowning in Bali pool

The toddler airlifted to Australia after being found at the bottom of a pool in Bali on Sunday is not responding to medical treatment. Kawa Sweeney’s family have been told the accident has left the three-year-old brain dead. The family, from Newport on Sydney’s northern beaches, were in Bali on a working holiday when the tragedy occurred.

Kawa was flown from Bali to Perth where she was being treated at Princess Margaret Hospital. A family spokeswoman has told media Kawa has been declared brain dead by medical staff.  She was pulled unresponsive from a pool at the family’s Balinese villa on Sunday and resuscitated by a doctor from Perth who was staying at the same resort. It took nearly two hours for the little girl to receive further medical treatment. Her parents now face the heartbreaking decision of when to turn off the girl’s life support. Kawa was staying at the villa with her parents, homewares entrepreneur Dee Tang and artist Desmond Sweeney, and baby sister Rafa. It is believed the pool was unfenced.

The family, who is originally from Perth, received overwhelming support from the public to fly her to Perth for treatment. After issues with their travel insurance Ms Tang and Mr Sweeney turned to social media in a plea to raise $42,000 to get their daughter on a plane to Perth. An online campaign had raised nearly $70,000 in less than 24 hours and Kawa was flown to Perth on Monday.

[Cessnock Advertiser July 27, 2017]


3 die as car full of tourists plunges into Lake Batur

A group of domestic tourists attempting to visit the traditional Bali Adat Village of Trunyan on Lake Batur ended tragically when their Suzuki APV vehicle left the unimproved road and plunged into the waters of the lake on Monday, July 17, 2107. As reported by DenPost, three passengers died at the scene, while three more passengers escaped injury. The group from Tangerang in West Java plunged into the lake at 4:00 pm on the Monday while returning from the ancient village of Trunyan. Eyewitnesses say the car stalled while climbing a lakeside road, slid backward down the road and over a steep embankment before sinking in 20-meters of water.

As the vehicle moved towards the water’s edge four jumped from the Suzuki APV while three others remained on board as the car fell down a 30-meter embankment and drowned. A local villager who witnessed the accident said the car stalled while ascending a hill, reversed before leaving the road and rolling side-over-side before plunging into the lake and sinking to a depth of 20 meters. Perishing in the accident, in addition to the driver, were female passengers Marpuah (65) and Rita Ningsih (50). Surviving the accident were Mistahul Jana (female, 25), Septia Dwi Cahaya (female, 10) and Adinda Nazua-karisma (female, 13).

Trunyan is a remote Bali Aga village on the shore of Lake Batur that predates the Hindu settlement of Bali and includes unusual traditions not found in other parts of Bali. Shrouded in mysticism and mystery, Trunyan is famed for its practice of neither cremating or burying its dead, choosing instead to leave the corpses of the dead under trees to decompose exposed to the elements. In response to the tragedy, the villagers at Trunyan are in the process of organizing a purification ceremony involving every member of the local community. The estimated cost of Rp. 20 million needed for the offerings will be provided by donations made by village members. [ July 25, 2017]


‘Fund a Fugitive’ crowd sourcing page for Bali prison escapee shut down for ‘violating terms’

Escapee Shaun Edward Davidson appears to be taunting police through Facebook one month after he and three others tunnelled out of Bali’s Kerobokan prison. Two of the escapees have been arrested, however Davidson and Malaysian man Tee Kok King            remain at large.

The now deactivated crowd funding page “Fund a Fugitive”, which appeared over the weekend asking people to “Dig deep like did”, was believed to have been set up by         Davidson’s friends, going by the pseudonym Beanna Winner. It raised only $65 of its $50,000 goal, which site administrators have refunded, according to News Corp. GoFundMe said it acted quickly to close down the account as soon as it was brought to their attention. “This campaign violated GoFundMe’s terms of service. The campaign in question was quickly removed from the site and any donations have been automatically refunded,” GoFundMe’s head of communications Kelly Galvin said Tuesday.

It is believed a man named Jason Lee Marzoli is behind the online funding account, and also claims to be the administrator of the Shaun Davidson Facebook fan page. Before it was shut down, the GoFundMe page stated (sic): “If u have loved Shauns ‘catch me if u can’ antics as much as we have so far and just like us u want to keep this hilarious saga going then donate.” “Dig deep for australias most loveable fugitive Shaun Davidson as he dug deep aswell lol. Don’t crus the glory be a part of the story donate hell appreciate.”

Davidson, who was going to be freed in less than three months, denied on his Facebook account he has been taunting police with his posts. “I’m definitely not a public threat as Interpol would have u believe,” he wrote last Wednesday. “Im (sic) just having some fun and a laugh I’m living my life just trying to make the best out of a bad situation it’s always better to laugh than anything else.”

[News7 July 18, 2017]


Four tourists at Nusa Dua ‘water blow’ escape serious injury when struck by rogue wave

Four foreign tourists suffered injuries then a rogue wave washed over them at the famed “water blow ” located at the tip of  Nusa Dua on Sunday, July 16, 2017. The wave struck the four while they were standing on the walkway near the “water blow” tossing them onto nearby coral resulting in cuts and abrasions.

Nusa Bali quotes the operational chief at ITDC, Made Pariwijaya, who confirmed the accident. Pariwijaya said similar accidents have occurred in the past when visitors ignored cautionary signs barring access to certain areas near the “water blow.” During the latest accident on Sunday, July 16, 2017, two tourists from Germany and two from Holland were swept onto the coral by a wave. Two of the tourist required treatment at the BIMC-Siloam Hospital in Nusa Dua.

Guards at the “water blow” said they had warned the group about venturing too close to the water’s edge just moments before the accident occurred. Most accidents at the “water blow” take place when tourists ignore signs in place when they are busy making “selfies” and venture onto the exposed reef to facilitate a better shot. Improvements being put in place at the “water blow” include life-saving rings on stand-by and the construction of a new walkway to be dubbed the “Pathway of Love.” [ July 23, 2017]


Italian student nabbed for drug abuse in Bali

Personnel of the Denpasar Police in Bali nabbed an Italian student, identified as Jan Andrea Jentilini (25), for alleged drug abuse. “Police arrested the (Italian) student in a house located at Badung District of Kuta Utara area, Bali,” according to I Wayan Arta Ariawan, police commissioner here on Saturday.

Ariawan stated that the police made the arrest after receiving information from people about a foreign national found to be involved in drug abuse in the area where the Italian student was staying. “The drugs consumed (by Jentilini) is the Japa-japa tobacco type. After examining, we found that this tobacco was classified as narcotics. Hence, we arrested the user for questioning,” the police officer revealed.

Results of questioning stated that that the Italian student bought the Japa-japa tobacco type worth Rp100 thousand from a man, identified by his initial as SK, who is still at large. Ariawan further noted that the police confiscated the Japa-japa tobacco type weighing 0.45 grams. Jentilini confessed to have consumed the Japa-japa tobacco three times for personal use, the police disclosed, adding that he was found to have consumed such kind of drugs two years ago. [Antara News July 23, 2017]


Kerobokan prison raided: phones, blades and marijuana uncovered

Phones, blades, and marijuana were among the contraband that turned up during a raid on Bali’s notorious Kerobokan Prison last night. A joint team of 625 personnel from Bali Police and the National Narcotics Agency (BNN) stormed the place, sweeping 14 blocks, targeting mobile devices especially. The raid started around 7:15pm and was finished by 9pm, said Deputy Chief of Police Brig. Alit Widana.

Two stashes of marijuana, a package of suspected methamphetamine, four bongs, three ecstasy pills, 24 phones, and 16 sharp weapons, including eight knives were found, reports Tribun Bali. “We will bring the evidence to Badung Police for analysis,” Widana said, explaining that the raid was done to break the chain of narcotics circulation between the prison and the network outside. Kerobokan Prison, located in a densely populated area, close to some of the island’s most famous tourist spots, is infamous for being a hub in Bali’s drug trade. “Our main goal was to actually find their communication tools. So that those in the prison cannot communicate with their outside network.”

Kerobokan is severely overcrowded and understaffed. An Australian TV crew with unprecedented access inside last month found that there were only eight guards on duty for 1,300 prisoners-in a facility originally designed for just 300 inmates. Clearly evidencing the prison’s facility and security shortcomings was a jail break by four foreign inmates last month, on June 19. Two of the inmates were found shortly after in East Timor and sent back to Kerobokan, but Australian Shaun Davidson and Malaysian Tee Kok King remain on the run, the former hunted by Interpol.

Davidson, who has become a social media sensation since his escape from the Bali prison, actually appeared to have access to Facebook while locked up, posting a live video from inside the prison walls. Given the raid’s findings, it sure comes as no surprise now that the Aussie was able to get online. [Coconuts Bali July 19, 2017]


Bali official denies dog meat report

A recent Australian media investigation which reported Bali food vendors are serving unwitting tourists dog meat are just lies designed to smear the popular resort island, a local government official said. “It is not true that dog meat is sold to tourists, it is only people who want to be provocative and bring down Bali destinations,” I Made Badra, the Head of Badung Regency Tourism Office, told Antara on Monday, July 17.

A report from Australia’s state news agency ABC released in June revealed evidence, provided by animal rights group Animals Australia, which showed a local satay vendor misleading tourists by telling customers the meat was chicken, not dog.

Badra suggested the report had been motivated by players from other tourism spots which compete against Bali. “Bali is now the world’s best tourist destination and defeats other countries, resulting in competition with a number of countries,” he said. But, the claims have been taken seriously by other Balinese government agencies who met for a summit last week to outlaw the practice.

The Human and Health Forum in Denpasar saw officers from Bali’s Veterinary Health Office, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Balinese Tourism Board draft recommendations to end the slaughter of dogs. [Indonesia Expat July 19, 2017]


World’s Top 10 urban destinations of 2017

Here are 2017’s top urban destinations, as per a list by Travel+Leisure

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Charleston, South Carolina, USA

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Kyoto, Japan

Oaxaca, Mexico

Florence, Italy

Hoi An, Vietnam

Cape Town, South Africa

Luang Prabang, Laos

Ubud, Indonesia


The town of Ubud, in the uplands of Bali, Indonesia, is known as a centre for traditional crafts and dance. The surrounding Ubud District’s rainforest and terraced rice paddies, dotted with Hindu temples and shrines, are among Bali’s most famous landscapes. Ancient holy sites include the intricately carved Goa Gajah (Elephant Cave) and Gunung Kawi, with its rock-cut shrines. Ubud is also home to good restaurants, cafes and streets of shops, many selling goods from the region’s artisans. Ubud’s popularity continues to grow, adding on the hoopla created by the bestselling book and film Eat, Pray, Love. [Financial Express July 23, 2017]