Two Australian tourists were stabbed on Friday night after a confrontation in Kuta’s popular Bounty Nightclub. Two local people were also reportedly injured. Another Australian man and an Indonesian were subsequently charged in relation to the attack.
According to police one of the Australian men, named as Jake Benjamin Whitehead, 21, was slashed across the chest, while another, Christopher Mete, 26, was wounded in the stomach, with the blade piercing his small intestine. The Indonesians involved in the incident have not been named.
Mete was taken first to the Graha Asih Hospital on Jl Bypass Ngurah Rai, but as his injuries were serious he was later transferred to the main Sanglah Hospital in Denpasar. Whitehead was treated at the Bali International Medical Centre.
A police spokesman said that the fight occurred at around 2am in the club, which is at the heart of the main nightlife district of Jl Legian. According to witnesses the trouble started with an altercation between an unidentified foreigner and local.
Denpasar chief detective Arif Sugiarto said shortly after the incident that an investigation was underway.
“We have questioned the employees and the discotheque visitors,” he said, adding that CCTV footage from the club was being examined.
Whitehead, who is from Newcastle in New South Wales, spoke to Australian media after returning home on Saturday after being discharged from hospital in Bali, where he needed 20 stitches. He said he was stabbed after trying to intervene in the clash.
“There was a guy near me getting beaten pretty badly so I’ve pulled his attacker off,” he told Australian television reporters. he told the Nine Network.
“A Balinese guy with a knife’s come and sort of had a go at me and as I stepped back he sliced straight down there. Once the adrenalin wore off, it sort of started to hit home,” he said.
Mete remained in the intensive care unit at Sanglah over the weekend. His parents flew into Bali from Melbourne to be beside him.
Speaking on Saturday afternoon chief Bali Police spokesman Hariadi said that the fight had started after a local man spilt a drink belonging to an Australian.
“He was asked to replace the drink but then he got angry and there was a fight between the perpetrator and the victims,” Hariadi said.
On Sunday Kuta Police chief Gede Ganefo announced that they had charged two 28-year-old men in relation to the attack, an Australian identified as JL, and an Indonesian named as JA.
“The two suspects were friends, and we have charged them both with assault, which carries a maximum penalty of nine years imprisonment,” he said.
Ganefo said that witnesses had identified JL, who was then arrested at a guesthouse on Jl Poppies I in Kuta. JA was subsequently arrested at a residence in Denpasar.
Ganefo said that JA was believed to have stabbed all four vicitims – the two Australians and the two Indonesians – after an initial tussle over a spilt drink.
JA had started an altercation with another Indonesian clubber, after which JL – described by police as his friend – went to his aid. After other clubbers attempted to break up the fight, JA stabbed them.
Ganefo said that after the clash JL and JA fled the scene, dumping the knife in a side street.
“We have located the knife we believe was used by the suspect, and we have confiscated several other items of evidence including a bloodstained shirt belonging to one of the suspects,” he said.
Ganefo said that the management of the Bounty Club would be reprimanded for allowing a guest to bring a knife onto the premises.
“They claimed that they implement rigorous checks on entry to the club. We are trying to find a valid legal basis to reprimand the management,” he said.
The Bounty is one of the largest clubs in Kuta. In 2009 a New Zealand citizen, 22-year-old Sean Keith William, was killed after being attacked by three local men, including two nightclub employees. The trio were subsequently convicted of murder.