Security Hike Follows Rash of Robberies

DENPASAR ~ Police have promised to increase security in tourist and foreign residential areas such as Sanur and Jimbaran following a rash of thefts by thieves targeting foreign nationals.

Denpasar Police spokes-man Ketut Suwetra gave the pledge following three incidents in which he said police were having trouble identifying the robbers.

He also called on foreigners to be more vigilant about their own safety and security from thieves in public areas.

In one of the three incidents that have caused increased alarm, Australian John Bucher, 49, was driving on Jl Bypass Ngurah Rai, in front of Paradise Plaza Suites in Sanur, when his car began to swerve.

Realising that he had a flat tyre, Bucher pulled to the side of the road and walked some distance from his vehicle to find help.

When he returned, he discovered that a bag containing a mobile phone, AUS$1,500 (Rp12.7 million) and Rp4.2 million ($445) in cash, a digital camera and credit cards was missing from the car.

In another incident, a Dutch tourist, Laila Mehdi, 29, was walking on Jl Danau Tamblingan in Sanur when two people on a motorcycle rode up alongside her in front of the Swastika Restaurant and snatched her bag.

“The victim shouted for help, but as the bike was very fast, they couldn’t be pursued,” another police officer said.

Among the items in the bag were documents and €600 ($900) in cash. Her total loss was estimated at Rp32 million.

In the third robbery, Hannes Bublitz, a German national who lives in the Bumi Asri housing complex in South Kuta, lost a Toshiba laptop computer and €700 in cash when a thief broke into his house while he was out.

Bublitz told the police that he was only out of the house briefly and returned to find he had been robbed. Bublitz said that he suspected the thief had entered the house through a window that had been left open.

Last month, Governor I Made Mangku Pastika ordered a police crackdown in response to a recent crime wave that had targeted mostly foreign nationals.

Pastika, a former Bali Police chief, said increasing criminal activity, particularly in Denpasar, had alarmed residents and tourists.

The governor said the Bali administration was in the process of building an integrated security centre to handle crime and natural disasters.

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