Bali yearns for ‘troubled’ Aussie bogans
You could hear a pin drop in Bali's ground zero for Aussies in strife - the Kuta police lock up.
It is deserted.
The usually swamped police station - and secondary hotel to hapless Australians - is lonely and forlorn since coronavirus caused tourism to collapse on the island paradise.
Chief detective of Kuta police Bagus Nagara Baranacita chuckled while he explained to News Corp how the station has shifted from being an unofficial drunk tank for foreigners to a local village slammer.
"The Kuta cells and police office is usually jammed with people and full of bule (foreigners) including Australians," he said.
" We were always busy with Australians fighting, drunk Australians and Aussies arrested with drugs. There is almost nothing going on here now. Please come to my office and see the empty cells. There are no Australians!
"We only have local bag snatchers, motorbike thieves, pick pockets and a person with counterfeit money. For now, crime isn't as much as it used to be."
PUSH-UPS NOT PRISON CELLS
During pre-COVID-19 times, about 20,000 Aussies are in Bali at any given time, which - for the police and Australian consulate - equates to trouble.
Figures released by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's Consular State of Play 2018-19, recorded that 27 Aussies were sent to Indonesian jails.
Most of these jailings are for drug offences while 67 Australians were charged - 41 for criminal offences and 26 for immigration breaches.
However, every year dozens of Aussies are 'detained' in Bali while negotiations take place with an alleged victim of violence. Once compensation is paid, the disgraced Australian usually leaves the island on the next available flight - their criminal record unblemished.
Instead of cuffing recalcitrant Aussies, Bali police now enforce new social behaviours to slow the spread of the COVID-19.
"We stand guard on the highway and stop people who are not wearing masks and prevent people from going to the beach," North Kuta Police Chief detective Androyuan Elim said.
Satgas Percepatan Penanganan Covid19 Jimbaran melakukan razia masker dan memberikan hukuman kepada warga yang tidak memakai masker untuk melakukan joget gembira.#COVID19 #dirumahaja #JagaJarak #jagakesehatan #pakaimasker pic.twitter.com/yjH6Yqksgb— Airport Plus Bali ᬅᬳᬶᬃᬧᭀᬃᬢ᭄ᬧ᭄ᬮᬸᬲ᭄ᬩᬮᬶ (@airportplusbali) May 8, 2020
"Since the COVID outbreak, we have had no Australians committing offences."
Police now dish out punishments of 20 on-the-spot kerb side push-ups for motorbike riders not wearing a mask. So many Aussies were on the wrong side of the law last year that the island's Governor Wayan Koster threatened to send unruly reprobates home.
Last year alone saw a number of incidents create national headlines. Adelaide man 'Fly Kick Nick' Nicholas Carr served four months jail for his booze fuelled rampage through Seminyak during which he 'ninja-kicked' a motorcycle rider off his bike. Brisbane Broncos NRL star David Fifita was in a brawl outside of a nightclub, The false eyelashed and lip enhanced Adelaide 'influencer' Tori Ann Lyla Hunter' spent four days in the lock up for allegedly possessing more than 100 Dexamphetamine pills, while 25-year-old Gold Coast carpenter Matthew Richard Woods was sent to Kerobokan jail for bag snatching.
The 2019 list of shame continued with Melbourne night club promoters William Cabantog and David Van Isersel cast into prison for snorting cocaine and the Melbourne Storm's Nelson Asofa-Solomona unleashed his rage in a Seminyak street fight.
Ricky Shane Rawson was sent to rehab having been found guilty of smoking meth, Sydney man Ryan Williams was jailed for five years for making his own cocaine in his Kerobokan kitchen and an Aussie film maker was thrown into the cells after hurling drunken punches following a boozy breakfast in a Kuta café.
The inglorious year ended with 18-year-old Queensland 'toolie' Zac Whiting weeping openly in the Kuta cells after he punched a Burger King security guard in the face.
ONE DEAD AUSTRALIAN EACH FORTNIGHT
Medical services have also slowed due to a lock down lull in accidents.
Bali police reported 500 traffic accidents in the first quarter of 2019 with about 100 including foreigners - a figure that has already tumbled.
Sanglah Hospital's forensic medicine unit head Ida Bagus Putu Alit said the wards that treat motorbike crash victims are significantly less busy.
"Based on my experience the hospital has not had a single Australian through the emergency department for a road accident since lock down," Alit said.
The usually busy Australian Consulate, a dream posting with an excruciating work load, has reduced its hours to four hours a day, four days a week.
According to the State of Play figures, two Australians died every two weeks in Indonesia - or 104 Australians - in 2018-19.
Even during COVID-19 hiatus, three Aussies died in Bali in the last week of April and the first week of May. Perth's 31-year-old Rhod Thomas drowned in his Canggu pool, while former Kalgoorlie miner Kevin Nunn, 68, died with suspected poisoning and tourist Christopher Tolley, 48, died in his sleep in a Seminyak hotel.
Originally published as Bali yearns for 'troubled' Aussie bogans