Sunday, January 30, 2011

Bali Police Shooting on Sight to Tackle Crime

Denpasar. Concerned by Bali’s rapidly increasing crime rate and the effect it may have on the island’s tourism, the head of the province’s police on Sunday issued a shoot-on-sight order for criminals targeting foreigners.

“The police have to act firmly, and, if necessary, shoot on sight if perpetrators try to escape arrest,” Insp. Gen. Hadiatmoko said.

He said that the frequency of crimes against foreign tourists and residents alike in Denpasar and the surrounding Badung district had now reached worrying levels.

The police chief lost his patience on Sunday when he received a report of a robbery attempt against Ekoto Philip Mimbimi, 35, that left the American national in the hospital.

Police said Mimbimi had fought two burglars attempting to rob his house in North Kuta, Badung district.

The criminals broke in through the back door of the house wearing ninja masks at around 3:00 a.m. Mimbimi was watching television and resisted the invasion, but was stabbed in the thigh.

“The criminals have been arrested and the victim is still receiving treatment in the hospital,” said I Gede Bambang Wiryawan, Bali Police chief of detectives.

On Tuesday, robbers attacked Christine Cheril, a 57-year-old Australian tourist staying at Villa Mangga in Mengwi, Badung.

Police said the perpetrators, whose numbers remain unclear, gagged and bound the victim and fled with Rp 180 million ($20,000) worth of valuables.

Lusiana Burgess, 46, the wife of a retired British pilot, was found dead at her home in Umalasar in North Kuta on Jan. 19. Police believe she was also the victim of a robbery.

Police are also investigating the daylight armed robbery of three gas stations, one on Jan. 15 and two others in October and November.

Hadiatmoko emphasized that no matter how trivial a crime and regardless of whether locals or foreigners are targeted, the island’s image as a safe tourist destination was at risk.

However, Hadiatmoko also condemned the preference of many tourists to seek privacy over safety.

“Many of the illegal villas are not equipped with adequate security measures and are targets for robbers,” he said.

The Bali Villa Association estimates that there are about 300 illegal villas for rent in Badung district. The association has set up a joint team to educate the managers of hotels and other accommodations on their obligation to report the details of their guests to authorities. Jakarta Globe

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