June 6, 2018

Indonesian pair sentenced to 15 years for killing Dutchman in Jimbaran

Two Indonesian defendants have been sentenced to 15 years in Denpasar District Court over the murder of a Dutchman in Bali’s quiet Jimbaran area. Winda Wilantara, 23, and Andika Budiyanto, were found guilty in court on Thursday of the premeditated murder of elderly Dutch national Robert Goelhoed. The panel of judges, lead by Ketut Suarta, handed down a more lenient sentence than the prosecutor’s demand of 18 years. “We sentence the defendants to 15 years imprisonment,” said Suarta, as quoted by Kumparan. The defendants along with the prosecutors both have one week to decide whether or not they accept the sentence or will move for appeal.

The expat was killed by Wilantara and Budiyanto on Oct. 26, 2017 on Jl. Ambon in the Puri Gading housing complex area of Jimbaran, the court previously heard in the defendants’ indictment. The pair made a plan to kill Goelhoed the previous day on Oct. 25, 2017 while staying at a condotel belonging to the victim on Jl. Dewi Sri in Legian. In addition to killing the victim, the defendants also stole from the Dutchman, including two cars. It all went down after the victim allegedly asked the two defendants to perform a sexual act in his bathroom, the court heard.

With assistance from Budiyanto, Wilantara killed Goelhoed, striking him on the head with an iron bar then proceeding to cut him with an axe until he was no longer alive, prosecutors said. Goelhoed’s body wasn’t found until over a week later when a neighbor, walking her dog, reported a foul stench coming from the house. Wilantara was later arrested on Nov. 7 in Lampung, Sumatra, while police tracked Budiyanto down on Nov. 9 at the home of his parents in Bogor, West Java.

Violent crimes are not common in Bali, but a Japanese couple was actually killed in the same neighborhood, Puri Gading, last year, in what was ruled to have been a burglary gone wrong. The perpetrator got 15 years prison. [Coconuts Bali May 25, 2018]


Dolphins’ teeth removed so they could swim with tourists on ‘paradise’ island

Every year, millions of people flock to the Indonesian islands of Bali, Lombok and Gili Trawangan, lured by the rich culture, crystal-clear water and volcanic mountains covered in thick forest. But for many animals, the islands are far from a paradise destination. Among the popular attractions on offer are a number of wildlife venues, where animals such as elephants, dolphins and orangutans are held in captivity, specifically for the purpose of entertaining tourists.

A new report published by nonprofit World Animal Protection (WAP) investigated 26 of these venues and painted a bleak picture of the conditions that these animals are forced to endure every day. WAP found that all venues failed to meet the basic needs of the animals they kept, highlighting various welfare issues that led to significant suffering. These included extreme restraint through cages and chains, limited opportunities to naturally socialize with other animals, participation in stressful and harmful activities, forced interaction with people, non-existent or insufficient veterinary care, and inadequate nutrition and diet. Researchers surveyed more than 1,500 animals and found evidence of dolphins being kept in severely insufficient pools which were far too small for them. Elephants suffered cruel and intensive training that involved severe and traumatizing restraint and pain, and orangutans were forced to entertain and take selfies with long queues of tourists.

Among the more disturbing findings, one venue was even found to have filed down or entirely removed the teeth of its dolphins to ensure that they were unable to inflict serious bites on swimmers. “It’s a tragedy that Bali, such a beautiful destination for tourists, forces its captive wild animals to endure such grotesque and horrific conditions,” Steve McIvor, CEO of WAP said in a statement. “Behind the scenes, wild animals are being taken from their mothers as babies or bred in captivity to be kept in filthy, cramped conditions, or repeatedly forced to interact with tourist for hours on end. “Bali is an idyllic paradise and its economy relies on the millions of tourists who travel there each year. Sadly, until Bali improves animal welfare at these dreadful venues, we are urging tourists to avoid them,” he added.

This is not just a problem in Indonesia. Across the world, wild animals are being captured or bred in captivity to be used in the tourism industry. In light of the report, WAP is encouraging holidaymakers to boycott travel companies that promote and support cruel venues. “If you can ride, hug or have a selfie with a wild animal, then it’s cruel-don’t do it, no matter how many ‘likes’ it will get on social media,” McIvor said. [ Newsweek May 22, 2018]


Aussie mum’s Bali tattoo nightmare

LISA Anne Tapp and her family had just had a blissful holiday in Bali, a destination she loves – but things turned sour after they returned home. While in the resort area of Nusa Dua, in southern Bali, she treated her six-year-old son Benjamin to a henna tattoo. However, shortly after getting back to Australia earlier this month, Benjamin suffered a reaction that may see him scarred for life. Now, the Australian traveller is warning others of the dangers. “Just thought I would put out a warning,” Lisa said. “My family and I just got back from another amazing holiday in Bali. But a week after being home my six-year-old son started to break out on his arms and leg where he had henna tattoos done.” Lisa said the problem lay in the tattoo’s black colouring, which indicates that chemicals were added to it. “The tattoos were black and not brownish red,” she said. “I have since found out that the black henna has nasty chemicals added to it. They add PPD (paraphenylenediamine) and even kerosene.”

It’s likely that the scars will remain, although there’s hope they will fade over time. “The hospital and doctors back home have told me that my son will more likely have permanent scarring on his two arms and leg. “So please everyone enjoy the beautiful Bali and beautiful Balinese people but stay clear of any henna tattoos especially if they are offering in the black colour.” Lisa’s warning comes after Chinese media reported that a 30-year-old man was taken to hospital days after returning from the Indonesian holiday isle. He had suffered a severe allergic reaction to a henna tattoo, with his arm turning red and becoming severely swollen. Problems with dark henna tattoos in Bali are so common that our government has issued a warning, however many tourists remain unaware. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade states in its travel advice for Indonesia: “Avoid temporary black henna tattoos which often contain a dye that can cause serious skin reactions.”

It’s not just Bali that has this problem either; cases have been reported around the world, including seven-year-old Madison Gulliver who was left with horrific scars after visiting Egypt, and Theo Luckett, 7, who was scarred in Bulgaria. While PPD is present in many products, such as sun cream and hair dye, it is usually used in very small doses. The addition of PPD into henna is now recognised as a public health issue, as this allergenic chemical often causes hypersensitivity reactions in children. [Queenlands Times May 17, 2018]


Bali-Java ferry burns in harbor, passengers evacuated

Passengers had to be evacuated from a burning ferry servicing the Bali to Java route on Thursday afternoon. The rear engine of the KMP Labitra Adinda caught fire around 2:20pm right as the boat was queueing to dock at the Port of Ketapang in Banyuwangi, East Java, according to Banyuwangi Water Police Comr. Subandi. The ferry was carrying 18 passengers and 12 crew members, along with five trucks, five dump trucks, two motorcycles. The route across the Bali Strait is a popular one, leaving from the Port of Gilimanuk in Jembrana, West Bali to Ketapang and is usually just a quick 30-minute ride–that is when the ferry doesn’t catch fire.

“When the fire first appeared, the ship was still positioned at sea, located 200 meters from the beach,” Subandi said, as quoted by Kompas. Passengers were evacuated using another boat, the KMP Karya Maritim II, while the ferry’s crew were rescued on rubber boats belonging to Basarnas (Search & Rescue) and water police. “It was a difficult time evacuating passengers and crew because the wave conditions were very high, up to three meters. We asked the crew to jump one by one to the rubber boats,” Subandi explained. All passengers survived and there were no reported injuries, head of Jembrana Water Police Unit, Insp. Eddy Waluyo told Okezone. The boat itself was eventually moved to Bulusan Beach, which runs about one kilometer from Ketapang Port. The fire was reportedly thought to be successfully extinguished around 5:30pm, but reemerged, and wasn’t totally extinguished until later in the evening. [Coconuts Bali May 29, 2018]


Indonesia passes tougher terror law after suicide attacks

Indonesia passed a new law yesterday that will give police more power to take pre-emptive action against terrorism suspects following the country’s deadliest Islamist attacks in years. The bill had been stalled for almost two years as parliament wrangled over key details, including how to define terrorism. But a wave of deadly suicide bombings on churches and a police station this month – claimed by Islamic State – heaped pressure on MPs to pass the legislation.

With Indonesia set to host the Asian Games in three months and an IMF-World Bank meeting in Bali in October, President Joko Widodo threatened to issue an emergency regulation if parliament failed to pass the beefed-up law. Changes were first proposed after a January 2016 suicide bombing and gun attack in Jakarta but languished in the legislature. Police will now be allowed to detain terrorist suspects for as long as 21 days, up from a week under the original law in 2003, and the entire permissible detention period from arrest to trial is doubled to more than two years. They will be able to charge people for joining or recruiting for a “terrorist” organisation, at home or abroad. Hundreds of Indonesians flocked to Syria and Iraq to fight alongside ISIS and many have since returned, but police had been powerless to arrest them.


They will also have a greater legal basis to prosecute radical clerics who inspire attacks. The definition of terrorist acts and threats was expanded to include motives of ideology, politics and security disruption. Some MPs said that would prevent the law from being abused. The revamped law also carries tougher jail terms and opens the door to the military playing a bigger role in Indonesia’s counter-terrorism efforts. Military involvement in counter-terrorism operations will be defined later by presidential regulation. Muhammad Syafi’i, chairman of the parliamentary committee that reviewed the new law, said inclusion of the military aims to beef up police capabilities in cracking down on extremism and radical networks in Indonesia. [The Australian May 26, 2018]


Jokowi said to have inked regulation on Premium despite criticism

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has reportedly given his approval for a revised presidential regulation ensuring the supply of Premium-branded gasoline in Java, Madura and Bali, regions where the fuel was previously phased out. The revision of Presidential Regulation No. 191/2014 has been labeled as a politically motivated move ahead of the presidential election next year. Fansurullah Asa, head of the Downstream Oil and Gas Regulatory Agency (BPH Migas), said the president had signed the revision, which was submitted by Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Ignasius Jonan. “We will wait for the following ministerial regulation, which assigns BPH Migas to distribute Premium in Java, Madura and Bali,” he said as quoted by Tempo.co on Friday.

Fansurullah added the fixed volume for distribution had yet to be decided, noting that throughout 2017 the agency recorded a realization of 5.1 million liters of Premium. Presidential spokesperson Johan Budi could not be reached for confirmation on whether Jokowi had officially signed the revised presidential regulation. Premium is one of state energy giant Pertamina’s products with a research octane number (RON) level of 88, the lowest RON. Despite being a low octane gasoline, Premium is popular because of its low price, which has been set at Rp 6,550 (47 US cents) per liter for Java, Madura and Bali. Meanwhile, Pertalite, which has an RON of 90, is sold at Rp 7,800 per liter. [The Jakarta Post   May 27, 2018]