Australian man arrested for assaulting Indonesian girlfriend over debt dispute

The Kuta Police apprehended Drew Donald Ireland, 29, an Australian citizen on June 6, 2023, for brutally assaulting his girlfriend, APS, 33, whom he met on Tinder. Photo: Media Polri.
The Kuta Police apprehended Drew Donald Ireland, 29, an Australian citizen on June 6, 2023, for brutally assaulting his girlfriend, APS, 33, whom he met on Tinder. Photo: Media Polri.

Authorities have apprehended Drew Donald Ireland, 29, an Australian citizen, for brutally assaulting his girlfriend, APS, 33, from South Sulawesi. The assault reportedly occurred after Ireland became enraged over being asked to repay a debt of IDR 1.5 million (US$100) by his girlfriend.

The couple, who had initially connected through the popular online dating app Tinder, enjoyed a brief five-week romance before the relationship took a tumultuous turn. The altercation unfolded when APS confronted Ireland about the debt. 

Fueled by alcohol, Ireland vehemently refused to pay up and went as far as threatening APS with physical harm.

Denpasar Police Chief Bambang Yugo Pamungkas said yesterday that the incident took a violent turn when Ireland forcefully pushed APS, causing her head to collide with a nearby wall.

He continued his assault by aggressively shoving APS to the ground before punching her.

“The victim sustained severe injuries to her head, including a noticeable bump at the back, a laceration on her forehead, a bruised left shoulder, and complained of immense pain,”said Yugo.

Following the traumatic incident, APS promptly reported the assault to the Kuta Police. The swift response resulted in Ireland’s arrest at Kadin Inn Hotel on Poppies Street at around 6:30pm on Sunday. 

Police said Ireland resisted arrest and made a desperate but unsuccessful attempt to flee the scene.

“While in police custody, the suspect created a disturbance at the police station, vandalizing police property as a means to resist apprehension,” Yugo stated.

Adding to the bewildering turn of events, Ireland boldly claimed to be a member of the renowned Australia Force One, an elite military unit. He purportedly insisted that he was undergoing sniper training at a military base in Renon, Denpasar, specifically assigned to Indonesia.

However, subsequent investigations and inquiries conducted with immigration authorities revealed that Ireland was, in fact, employed as a technician. Further inspection of his personal effects and residence led to the discovery of airsoft guns, sharp-edged weapons, and even a stun gun in his possession.

Yugo explained, “Upon inspecting the crime scene at his place of residence, we seized three long-barreled airsoft guns, two short-barreled guns, and multiple sharp-edged weapons.”

Alarming revelations continued to unfold, indicating Ireland’s involvement in various reported theft incidents, including those at the Beach Walk Kuta shopping center, an electrical store in Legian, and the Cakrawala store in Marlboro Denpasar.

As a result of Ireland’s arrest, law enforcement successfully confiscated crucial evidence, including clothing belonging to APS, five airsoft guns, two knives, two iron bars, and three stolen articles of clothing from the renowned brand Under Armour.

Under Indonesian law, Ireland may be looking at up to two years and eight months in prison for aggravated assault. Additionally, he could serve a maximum sentence of three months in prison for theft.

“He has requested consular assistance this afternoon,” Yugo said.

When approached by reporters at the police station, Ireland claimed an inability to communicate in English, leaving many perplexed. 

“I can’t speak English,” he briefly responded, as quoted by Detik.

Meanwhile, Sugito, the Head of Ngurah Rai Immigration Office, shed light on Ireland’s travel records, confirming his arrival in Bali on April 13. Initially entering the country with a Visa on Arrival, his stay was extended until June 11, allowing him to embark on a short-term visit for tourism purposes.

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