September 13, 2017

Kenyan runners dominate Maybank Bali Marathon

As expected, Kenyans dominated the annual Maybank Bali Marathon (MBM) 2017 on Sunday, seizing top spots in the coveted Full Marathon Open Male and Open Female categories as well as in the remaining four open categories. Twenty-nine-year-old Henry Kiprotich Sang made a surprising debut in MBM 2017 after finishing the full marathon in 02:19:17, which earned him first place in the Full Marathon Open Male category and Rp 189 million (US$14,160) cash prize handed over by PT Bank Maybank Indonesia president director Taswin Zakaria. “This is my first time to race in Bali, in Indonesia, and I will surely come back next year,” he said with a big smile. Kiprotich’s fellow countrymen, Cosmas Matolo and Kennedy Lilan, came second and third, respectively, in the category.

In the Full Marathon Female Open, Elizabeth Chepkanan Rumokol finished first with 02:38:38, followed by Edinah Jeruto and Gladys Jepkechei Tarus. All are Kenyans. Wiryawan Jaya Subangkit booked 02:41:53 to take the top place in the Full Marathon Indonesian Male category, while Meri Mariana Paijo with 03:01:54 won in the Full Marathon Indonesian Female category.

The race was a successful, well-organized event with clear road signs, sufficient water stations and toilets along the course, as well as more than adequate amenities, from food and beverage stalls to first aid stations, which awaited the finishers in the spacious compound of the Bali Safari and Marine Park in Gianyar. PT Bank Maybank Indonesia director for global banking Eri Budiono extended his gratitude to sponsors, partners, government agencies and local communities for the success of the event. “There are several new things being introduced in this year’s event that presented new challenges for us.  The event went smoothly and for that I want to say thank you to all.” Bali Safari and Marine Park general manager Thomas Colbert said the park was proud to host the marathon. [The Jakarta Post August 27, 2017]


Aussie fugitive demands $3.5 million in bitcoin for media interview after Bali prison escape

Australian prison-breaker Shaun Davidson, on the run from authorities after breaking out of a Bali prison, is demanding to be paid $3.5 million in bitcoin for a media phone interview. Shaun Davidson is now seen as                  Australia’s most notorious prison escapee after burrowing a 15-meter tunnel under the walls of Bali’s overcrowded Kerobokan prison on June 19 this year, with three other prisoners. Davidson was originally jailed for a year behind bars in Indonesia for using another man’s passport with charges related to immigration offences.

Only 10 weeks away from completing his sentence, Davidson staged an astonishing escape after digging through a waste tunnel – nearly 15 meters long and just a half a meter wide –  with three other foreigners from the prison.  Davidson continues to be on the run and, predictably, the story of his breakout continues to make for compelling news coverage in Australia.

The 33-year old has now allegedly reached out to a reporter at Australia’s News Corp, demanding bitcoin in return for an interview described as “the holy grail of journalism” by Davidson. Australian laws dictate that convicted criminals cannot be allowed to make profits from speaking to the media about details related to the crime. To get around this particular hurdle, Davidson is connecting media with his sister, or at least someone purporting to be her. Reaching out via Wickr, a Snapchat-like messaging app with an auto-delete feature, Davidson’s sister wrote: Exclusive interview no restrictions $3500000 paid in bitcoin…if not accepted in time and payment made soon after the deals off the table [sic] every week that goes by the price increases.

A disclaimer by the publication added that it did not, nor does it ever intend to pay the bitcoin sought by Shaun Davidson or his alleged sister. Meanwhile, Davidson has taken to Facebook to regularly taunt Australian law enforcement agencies about his escape and regularly ‘checks-in’ to various locations around the world. Davidson purportedly ‘checked in’ at the McDonalds outlet in Singapore’s Changi airport yesterday, days after checking in Atapupu in Indonesia and Oistins, a coastal village in Barbados. [Cryptocoins News August 30, 2017]


Escaped Malaysian prisoner believed to be in home country, say Bali police

Indonesian police have received information that Malaysian national Tee Kok King, who escaped from Bali’s Kerobokan Penitentiary in June along with three other foreign inmates, may be in his home country. Another escapee, Australian national Shaun Edward Davidson, is still believed to be in Indonesia, Bali police chief Insp Gen Petrus Reinhard Golose said on Tuesday.

“We have been coordinating with Malaysian authorities, as we suspect he is already in Malaysia,” Petrus told journalists. The police chief said Malaysian authorities were willing to help find Tee. However, should the inmate really be in the country, he could not be extradited to Indonesia, given that Malaysian law prohibits citizens from being extradited from the country, Petrus said. “It is a real obstacle that the inmate is (probably) already in his country, but we will continue to cooperate with Malaysia,” he said.

As for Davidson, who is believed to still be in Bali, Petrus said police would intensify monitoring at the Timor-Leste border in East Nusa Tenggara. Two other inmates, Bulgarian Dimitar Nikolov Iliev and Indian Sayed Muhammad Said, were arrested in Timor-Leste four days after their escape. The four inmates escaped on June 19 through an old unused tunnel. Davidson recently made headlines after he allegedly taunted police by uploading a wanted poster with his face and fingerprints to Facebook. Arrested in early 2016 for over-staying his visa, Davidson was also found to have used multiple fake identities. [Asia News Network August 23, 2017]


Indonesia’s national rail network aims for more growth, less inequality

Indonesia has finalised its plan for a national railway network, which as envisioned by President Joko Widodo, will beef up land connections and support all seven of its key seaport hubs. The network will also include a separate circle line around Bali to offer better access to untapped parts of the resort island where new tourism developments can be built. With more than 3,200km of train tracks that will criss-cross the islands of Sumatra, Java, Kalimantan, and Sulawesi, it has been touted as the most extensive railway project in Indonesia since its independence from the Dutch 72 years ago.

Once completed, the project is expected to not only drive trade and economic growth, but the government also hopes the improved inter-connectivity will lower inequality in less developed regions. “Another reason for the strategy is to grow the tourism sector,” added Mr Wismana. “We have identified 14 industrial zones for priority development, but we also want to create 10 new ‘Balis’, or 10 new tourist destinations.”

But Bali will also receive a boost under the new plan with a possible railway that goes around the island, The Straits Times has learnt. Mr Atmadji Sumarkidjo, a senior official from the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs, pointed to areas in north Bali, where the lack of access has slowed growth. “They have already built cottages there but without connectivity, the occupation rate has been low,” he added. “So with the northern part relatively deserted, compared to the packed southern parts of Bali, connecting north and south of the island by rail is a good solution.”

Not all of the railway lines will be built at the same time, said Mr Wismana, when asked about the project’s timeline. [The Straits Times September 4, 2017]


Large whale washes ashore in west Bali

Villagers of Yeh Kuning in Jembrana were shocked by the appearance of a large dead whale that washed up on the shore of their village. reports that a local fisherman made the discovery at 7:00 am on Wednesday, August 30, when he saw the rotting carcass of the large whale floating some 200 meters from the shoreline. The large mammal, estimated to measure 7-meters in length and weighing 3 tons, may have been dead for as much as a month judging from its advanced state of decay.

The remains washed up in front of a local temple, emitting the stench of decay that was detectable over a large area and prompted local officials to hurriedly set about disposing of the dead animal. Several days after the                 discovery, a backhoe was brought to the beach to dig a seaside grave for the whale that had to be cut into sections so it could be maneuvered into the impromptu burial site. [www.balidiscovery.comSeptember 3, 2017]


Convicted drug smuggler Schapelle Corby offers advice to people travelling to Bali

Convicted drug smuggler Schapelle Corby has shared some travel advice to people thinking about visiting Bali over the upcoming Christmas break. The 40-year-old took to Instagram on Sunday with a throwback post marking exactly three months since she signed her parole release papers and flew back home.

Corby, who has built up a huge social media profile since returning to Australia with over 200,000 followers on Instagram alone, was asked about sightseeing in Bali. ‘I’m going to Bali in two weeks Schapelle, do you have any sight seeing recommendations?’ one woman wrote. Corby bluntly replied: ‘Lock you(r) bags.’ ‘Thanks for the tip xx,’ the woman responded.

Corby was arrested in 2005 after Balinese customs officials discovered 4.1 kilograms of marijuana hidden in her body board bag. She was convicted of importing the drug and jailed for 20 years, but released on parole in 2014. She returned to Australia on May 27th of this year.Since returning to Queensland’s Gold Coast, Corby has tried to regain a sense of normality, keeping a relatively low profile and spending time with family. The brunette has been snapped doing everyday chores like dropping off paperwork for her driver’s license, visiting JB Hi-Fi and road-tripping along the east coast. [Mail Online August 28, 2017]


Young Englishman prevented from leaping to his death in Kuta

An English tourist, Adam Healy Matthew (20), was coaxed down from a water tower located on the third floor of the Hotel Bendesa in Kuta on Tuesday, August 28, 2017. Police and security guards, fearing Matthew was preparing to jump to his death, managed to get the man off the tower he climbed at around 8:00 pm, sending employees and guests at the hotel into a panic, prompting a call to Kuta Police for assistance. says the Londoner had been staying at the hotel for two days before the apparent suicide attempt  unfolded. Police from the Search and Rescue Team of the Bali Police, the Police Disaster Mitigation Team and the Fire Department responded to the scene. Once safely back on the ground, police brought the man to the BIMC Hospital who referred to man to Sanglah General Hospital in Denpasar. The preliminary diagnosis was that the man was suffering from severe depression. [www.balidiscovery.comSeptember 3, 2017]


Two foreigners in Bali deported for moonlighting as dive instructors

Two foreigners have been deported by the Singaraja immigration in North Bali for performing a job that is not in accordance with their KITAS work permits. Singaraja Class II Immigration office head Victor Manurung said that the two foreigners, identified as 43 year-old man from Canada and 29 year-old woman from Denmark, were found working as dive instructors, when a subsequent investigation found that the pair’s KITAS were obtained for the roles of president director of a tourist attraction and sales marketing manager, respectively.

“Foreigners working in Indonesia must be working in accordance with what is submitted to the manpower office, related to the job title. On their KITAS permits, it is listed as president director and sales marketing manager, but they were caught working as dive instructors. It’s a shame for local dive instructors who cannot get work,” Manurung said on Wednesday, as quoted by

He assured that the deportation of the two foreigners was a result of a process of an investigation carried out by the Immigration office. Having been found guilty of violating their KITAS terms, the work permits of the two foreigners were immediately revoked. Manurung added that the Immigration office will continue to keep an eye on foreigners in their jurisdiction of Buleleng, Jembrana, dan Karangasem that may be working outside of the capacity of their work permits. “We are still investigating, but we will continue to monitor foreign nationals in the area,” he said. [Indonesia Expat August 31, 2017]


Charred bodies of Japanese couple found Bali residence

Police on the island of Bali suspect foul play following the  discovery of the charred bodies of an elderly Japanese couple at their residence on Monday. At around 12:00 p.m., the scorched bodies of Norio Matsuba (76) and his wife Hiroko, who is the same age, were found in a second-floor bedroom of their residence, located in the village of Jimbaran. The faces of both persons had been completely burned. According to fire officials, many of the rooms of the structure had been damaged by fire. As well, bloodstains were found coming out of a first-floor bathroom and extending to a bedroom on the second floor, possibly indicating a body had been dragged, the                 authorities added. The bodies were initially found by the    couple’s adopted son, who is an Indonesian national. Police are now questioning him, their maid and driver about the case. [Tokyo Reporter September 5, 2017]