Two Indonesian men were violently beaten by an angry mob outside of an ATM in Ubud, after a tourist falsely accused them of stealing her money.
The tourist has since issued a statement with police, that was filmed and is being shared all over social media, clarifying that the men were indeed innocent and it was all one big, painful misunderstanding.
“I want to clarify that he is innocent and his friend as well. What happened yesterday was a complete misunderstanding. He did not rob me, and then the community came together thinking that he did rob me, but he is not guilty. Even if it looks like it on the short video,” the woman, who has been identified as Viktoria Erlacher by Tribun Bali, stated.
The incident took place on Jl. Hanoman on Sunday. Viral footage shows the two young men Seniman, 21, and Anan, 18, surrounded by people on the street who push them down, bind their wrists, and put them on the back of a motorbike, presumably to be taken to the police station. People can be seen jumping out from the angry mob, grabbing the men by their hair, and punching Seniman and Anan in the head.
How it all got started is that the Austrian tourist was at an ATM on Jl. Hanoman. After she went out from the ATM, Seniman and Anan went in, where they withdrew IDR2 million in cash, and as they came out, they were stopped by the tourist, who claimed they had her money, according to Ubud Police Chief Raka Sugita, who explained the case to local reporters on Monday.
“It was just a misunderstanding. She thought (the two men) saw her PIN after she withdrew money, then came two people After the money was taken, she said the money was hers,” Raka said, as quoted by Detik.
Allegedly thinking the money was hers, the tourist tried to pull the cash away from Seniman and Anan, who held onto it—since it was actually their money.
The interaction between the two men and tourist attracted the attention of local residents at the scene. Things escalated quickly, with Seniman and Anan getting accused of stealing.
“Because of the tug-of-war, there were some residents who came, just as they passed Jl. Hanoman, some said pickpockets, some said robbery,” Raka said.
“It’s very sad to see the community act like this. Without knowing the problem, they immediately acted, kicking. Some were even in a car and got out of the car to hit (the victims) then run away. I hope something like this doesn’t happen again. The community must be mature in responding to problems,” the police chief added.
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The two men and foreigner were brought to the police station. After the three had been questioned, the foreigner said it was a misunderstanding and finally admitted that the two men did not take her money.
“After it was confirmed that it turned out to be a misunderstanding because of the foreigner,” Raka said.
Both parties agreed to the reconcile the matter.
Several Indonesian citizen journalism Instagram accounts reported that the foreigner paid the men IDR400k (US$27) in compensation, but police only mentioned the woman paying their medical bills and money that was taken from the “tug-of-war” in all the commotion.
“It’s settled. The westerner returned the IDR300k (US$20) lost money. Then the westerner accompanied them to the hospital.”
The police chief did not speak on the severity of the victims’ condition, but dark bruises can be seen on the face of the men in the viral footage from the police station.
Police have not said whether they will be pursuing members of the mob for their violent vigilantism.