Indonesian Immigration deports Russian family after busking video went viral

Screengrab from the video of them busking in Lombok.
Screengrab from the video of them busking in Lombok.

A Russian family was deported from Indonesia on Sunday, following viral videos showing them busking at a local market in Lombok that officials say violated their visa status.

“We’re giving them a leeway because we’re in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. If there was no COVID-19 we would surely act more strictly,” Syahrifullah, who heads the Mataram Immigration Office, told Kompas.

The man, identified as 29-year-old MB, and the woman, identified as 28-year-old E, along with their 2-year-old daughter S, were deported from Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport yesterday, with a flight that was reportedly arranged by the Russian Consulate in Bali.

A few videos of the trio were shared on Facebook recently, showing the couple performing around a Lombok market and singing. It appears that the same couple have been spotted in other cities in the region and engaging in similar behavior, including an incident in Kuala Lumpur where they were detained by the Malaysian Police for violently swinging their then four-month-old baby during a street performance in February of last year. 

Officials did not confirm that the family spotted in Lombok is the same as the one who was detained in Kuala Lumpur, but videos from the two occurrences appear to show the same people.

MB and E reportedly told officials that they were street musicians who regularly travel around the world, and claimed that they were running out of money. 

“I was playing music in Bali, but the police forbid us when it’s our way of buying food and surviving. We only have enough money for one month to stay in Bali, so we went to Lombok in search of a busking opportunity, but the door was closed for that too,” MB said, as quoted by Tribun.

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