After authorities in Bali disputed claims by a 25-year-old Australian woman that she was violently mugged in Canggu, a person claiming to be a friend of the alleged victim went online yesterday to say that there was indeed no mugging.
The Australian woman, identified as Emma Bell, was a central figure to this week’s headlines across Australian and local news outlets, which reported on the alleged tragedy that befell her.
It prompted the Bali Police to conduct an investigation, which led them to dispute initial claims, after they acquired information that Bell had not been violently robbed but was involved in an accident instead. Police suggested that the mugging story was fabricated in order for Bell to make an insurance claim in Australia, which doesn’t cover injuries from motor accidents.
Yesterday, a GoFundMe page set up to raise funds to help her was updated by the organizer, Emi Thompson, who said that the original story she had shared “was not entirely true.”
“There was no mugging — Emma fell off a scooter with no helmet on,” Thompson wrote, explaining that Bell did sustain brain and other injuries from the accident, which require significant surgery and rehabilitation.
Thompson managed to raise over AUD16,000 (US$10,903) on the platform to help Bell pay for her medical bills. She admitted that she “probably acted too quickly” on very little information about what had happened to her friend, and said that none of the money raised has been taken.
Thompson said they have yet to decide the best course of action, noting that Bell and her family is still in need of funds to pay for her medical bills. Thompson apologized for misleading people with her initial story, but said that the whole thing was not a scam.
“I have not been able to speak to Emma as yet — it is difficult for her to communicate… Once again I am sincerely sorry that I got the initial message wrong,” Thompson wrote.
She did not respond immediately to Coconuts Bali’s request for comment.
Bali Police previously said they are still looking into the case, but that the investigation has proved to be difficult as Bell has left Indonesia.
“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.
Though this recent story about violent mugging might turn out to be fake after all, Bali has indeed seen various cases of bag snatches over the years, which often involve unsuspecting tourists visiting the island.
Earlier this year in May, for example, a Singaporean couple was robbed while riding on a scooter late at night and the couple reportedly sustained some injuries after the incident. Thankfully, police managed to arrest two men behind the alleged crime.