Police have cracked down on gangs targeting foreign tourists after a spate of begal attacks in Bali and Jember, East Java.
Begal attacks, a local term for attacks in which motorcycle riders and passengers are targeted by bike-riding thieves, are common occurrences across the country after peaking in 2015.
Kuta police chief Wayan Sumara said five gang members were arrested on April 22 in tourist hot spot Seminyak, Bali. The suspects have been identified by their initials as BA, DM WK, RJ, YEM and SM. Two suspects remain at large and have been identified as Ardi and AS. It is believed Ardi and AS fled to Jember following the arrests.
The seven suspects were arrested riding six motorcycles along Jalan Raya Seminyak to Jalan Raya Legian. After stopping at a convenience store, one suspect reportedly assaulted a passerby.
“They immediately beat the victim and then took the victim’s belongings,” Sumara said, as reported by Sindo New.
The gang stole four phones, a BCA ATM card and Rp.600,000 (US$45) cash.
“Local tourists have also become targets,” Sumara added.
Investigations are continuing, while gang members face up to nine years in prison.