Bali, a pocket of Hinduism in Muslim-majority Indonesia, is a popular tourist destination known for its tropical climate and palm-fringed beaches. -AFP
Denpasar (Indonesia) (AFP) - A man on trial for allegedly stealing large sums of cash from an ATM on the Indonesian resort island of Bali fled from court Tuesday by climbing out of a toilet window, police said.
Peruvian national Jose William Salazar Ortiz had been due to hear prosecutors' sentence demand at the hearing, one of the final stages of a criminal trial in Indonesia.
But after arriving at court, the 38-year-old asked security officers to go to the toilet before proceedings got under way, police official Gede Sumana said.
"After a while, Ortiz didn't return and officers became suspicious -- they thought he might have run away," Sumana told AFP.
Officers broke down the door of the toilet cubicle where Ortiz had been to discover the Peruvian was not there, and a small window inside was open, the official said.
After climbing through the window, police suspect he made his getaway from the court in the Balinese capital Denpasar by hailing a taxi.
They have launched a manhunt for the suspect and have alerted officials at the airport, the port and bus terminals to be on lookout for him.
Ortiz was arrested with two other Peruvian men in January for allegedly smashing open an ATM on Bali and stealing hundreds of millions of rupiah, local media reported.
They are also suspected of stealing money from ATMs on Indonesia's Java island, which lies west of Bali.
Bali, a pocket of Hinduism in Muslim-majority Indonesia, is a popular tourist destination known for its tropical climate and palm-fringed beaches.
Minor crime is common on the island but theft involving large sums is rare.