Police are hot on the trail of one of Kuta’s notorious “hypnotists,” known as Anna Maria, and sought following a street pick-up scam played on Swiss tourist Elmar Foehr, 69.
The case, which came to light in mid-September, was the incident that prompted Bali Police chief Hadiatmoko to threaten two senior officers with the sack if they didn’t solve the crime quickly.
Police said Anna Maria was believed to have fled to Yogyakarta. Foehr was befriended by the woman and accomplices at the Hotel Kartika Plaza on September 14. They agreed to meet next day after the gang claimed to have relatives in Switzerland.
But when they met they had drinks and Foehr became confused.
He reported the incident to police later, saying he had been disoriented – gangs of “hypnotists” who target likely tourists drug drinks — and was out of pocket as a result of the crime.
His “friends” had tried to get him to withdraw money from an ATM but he resisted this idea and bought them the mobile phones instead.
Police describe Anna Maria as “a charmer” who had arrived at the hotel on September 15 in a Daihatsu Terios and invited Foehr to go for a drive. Later they had played gambling games in which Foehr lost money.
The gang then tried to get him to obtain cash to repay his “debt,” but when they had gone to a cash point in Kuta Foehr refused to use his card in the machine and they went instead to a phone shop in Jl Teuku Umar, Denpasar, where he bought six BlackBerry mobiles.
After buying the BlackBerries, which can cost up to Rp5 million (US$550) apiece, he was driven back to his hotel.
When Foehr reported the incident police checked car-rental bookings in Kuta. “From the investigation of a rented car, we got the name of the perpetrator, Anna, and her mobile phone number and ID,” a police spokesman said.
Police believe Anna left Bali on September 16. She dropped off the rental car at Ngurah Rai International Airport at 6am that day. She notified the owner by phone of where to pick up the car.
She has been listed as wanted by Bali Police.