Bulgarian group arrested in Uluwatu for ATM skimming, IDR78 million in cash secured

Unfortunately, Bali has a bad rap for ATM skimming. Photo: Pixabay
Unfortunately, Bali has a bad rap for ATM skimming. Photo: Pixabay

Bali Police have arrested five Bulgarian men in connection with an ATM skimming scam and secured IDR78 million (US$5,580) from them in allegedly ill-gotten cash.

The suspects were caught after a dramatic police chase on on Jl. Tirta Gangga in Uluwatu at 5am on the morning of Sunday, February 3, according to a report by Kompas.

Identified as Ivaylo Filipov Trivonof, 43, George Jordanov, 45, Todor Krasimirov, 21, Andre Iliev Peytchev, 41, and Varadin Nikolaev Popov, 28, the group had only flown into Bali within the past month or so, and are thought to have deliberately targeted the tourist island due to its large volume of spendthrift visitors.

Working on a tip-off from one of the local banks, police launched an investigation and surveillance program that went on for five days.

“CCTV footage recorded two perpetrators, [both] wearing wigs, one [wearing] a hat, and one wearing a balaclava,” said Andi Fairan, the head of Bali Police Criminal Investigation Unit on Thursday, as quoted by Kompas.

Police managed to track down the two rental cars that the scammers were using and eventually chased both vehicles down Jl. Tirta Gangga. In their frantic efforts to escape, one of the cars reportedly crashed.

“As they continued to be pursued, the perpetrators resisted by crashing into a car and wrecking its rear end. At that time, officers fired until the men were secured,” explained Fairan, as quoted by Kompas.

One of the men, identified as “Illijas” in a report by Tribun Bali, escaped and is still on the loose.

Meanwhile, the other five were reportedly caught with more than 3,000 pirated ATM cards, IDR788 million in cash, laptops, and the various wigs used to commit the crimes.

All of the bank notes are believed to have originated from ATM skimming, though it’s unclear exactly how much money the group managed to swindle in total.

“We are still investigating further, including reviewing how many victims have been affected, and the value of the losses,” said Fairan, as quoted in Jawa Pos.

Police are still searching for the sixth man while the other five suspects face prison sentences of up to six years and fines of up to IDR6 billion (US$429,303).

Bali is known to have a bad rap for ATM skimming and many of the culprits seem to hail from Bulgaria. Just last month, a Bulgarian cybercrime group was found to be tinkering with cash machines in Sanur.

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One thought on “Bulgarian group arrested in Uluwatu for ATM skimming, IDR78 million in cash secured

  1. During those 7 years, they also could do community services such as cleaning beaches, cleanibg gutters and rivers, escorted by armed guards.
    That will be a good contribution to the environment

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