UPDATE: A person claiming to be a friend of the Australian woman went online yesterday to say that there was no mugging. Read our update on this here.
Police in Bali are looking into the case involving a 25-year-old Australian woman who claimed she was violently mugged in Canggu. Authorities are now disputing initial claims, saying that she may have been involved in a traffic accident and not a robbery.
Bali Police General Crime Director, Andi Fairan, told local media outlets yesterday that police have yet to receive a report regarding the incident.
News of what supposedly befell the Australian woman, who has been identified as Emma Bell, was widely reported on Australian and local news outlets in the past few days, prompting authorities to investigate what had actually happened.
“We received information from the victim’s friend who explained that she was not violently robbed, but was involved in an accident. The victim did not lose any of her belongings,” Andi said, as quoted by Tribun Bali.
“The reason why she made the claims of a violent robbery was to make an insurance claim in her country, because the insurance doesn’t cover injuries from accidents.”
Andi added that Bell was treated at the BIMC Hospital in Kuta on Dec. 4, but she and her family returned to Australia on Dec. 7 because her insurance doesn’t cover treatment in Bali.
According to reports from Australian news outlets, Bell was severely injured on the head after she was allegedly attacked while walking alone in Canggu. A motorcyclist reportedly drove up beside her and snatched her bag, which caused her to fall head first.
She was placed under brief intensive care in Bali, but was then flown to Royal Perth Hospital, where she reportedly underwent an emergency surgery. According to reports, she is currently stable and in recovery.
Bell’s friends also managed to raise over AUD16,000 (US$10,903) on GoFundMe to help her pay for her medical bills, though the organizer, Emi Thompson, closed the page down on Dec. 9.
“As we have achieved our initial goal of having Emma brought back over I will be closing this GoFundMe page down and let Emma and her family have some time to plan her recovery,” Thompson wrote.
Bali Police say they are still looking into the case, citing the fact that Bell has left the country as an issue.
“The problem is the person [Bell] is no longer in Indonesia. We’re having trouble asking for her statement. What happened, how it happened, we cannot confirm anything yet,” Laurens Rajamangapul Haselo from the Badung Police told Kumparan.
Read more news and updates from Bali here.