Bali to deport two Polish nationals for flaunting Nyepi ban

A general view shows an empty street in Badung, Bali on March 22, during Nyepi, the day of silence, when Hindus do not work, travel or take part in any indulgence.- AFP

JAKARTA (The Jakarta Post/Asia News Network): Two Polish nationals will be deported for flaunting the ban of Nyepi, the day of silence, after being at Purnama Beach in Sukawati, Gianyar, Bali and arguing with pecalang (Balinese traditional guards) when reprimanded on Wednesday (March 22).

Karol Grabinski, 39, and Barbara Karina Walczak, 24, were found eating their meals on the beach at a bale bengong (open-air wooden hut) on the beach at 9.30am on Wednesday when the pecalang patrolled the areas. A small camping tent was attached on the bale bengong.

The pecalang told them that it was Nyepi and no one was allowed to stay outside or be in a public area.

The video of the couple arguing with the pecalang circulated on social media. In the video, the two foreigners are seen arguing with the pecalang, saying that everyone has the right to be on the beach and if no one is allowed to be in public, the pecalang should not be there as well.

Sukawati village leaders reported the incident to the local police.

Bali Police spokesperson, Sr. Comr. Stefanus Satake Bayu Setianto, said the couple was immediately taken to Sukawati Police Station as soon as the report was received.

“The two said they knew that it was Nyepi, but insisted that their activity on the beach would not disturb the holiday observance,” Stefanus told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.

Grabinski and Walczack told the police that they were going to Padangbai Harbour to catch a ferry for West Nusa Tenggara (NTB). From NTB they were planning to go to Australia. They said they opened a tent in the area because they had no place to stay.

“They argued that they were far from the residential area,” he said.

“We have handed them over to the Denpasar Immigration Office,” Stefanus said.

Denpasar Immigration Office chief, Tedy Riyadi, confirmed that the two foreigners had been transferred to the immigration office by Thursday morning.

“Of course, we will deport them. We are now coordinating with the [Polish] consulate,” he said.

During Nyepi, which marks the Caka Lunar New Year, no vehicles are allowed on the streets except for emergency services.

Lights are turned off at night, except at certain public facilities such as hospitals and police stations. Hotels are allowed to turn on minimum lighting and tourists are confined to hotel compounds. All markets, shops, offices, cafes, bars, restaurants and other public spaces are closed.

On the holiday, people on the island are expected to refrain from using all forms of home entertainment, such as televisions, radios and the internet.

During Nyepi, Balinese Hindus are prohibited from several activities. The main four prohibitions are amati geni (abstaining from lighting fires), amati karya (abstaining from work), amati lelungan (abstaining from venturing outside the family compound) and amati lelanguan (abstaining from enjoying entertainment).

Earlier this week, the local immigration office deported four Russians for visa violations. In a statement, the office said the four Russians, identified by their initials RK, AGR, AGA and DG, had all left the country late Thursday.

"We applied administrative immigration actions toward these four individuals in the form of deportation and prevention [from entering the country]," head of Ngurah Rai immigration office Sugito said in a statement quoted by Antara.

Sugito said AGR and RK had been cited for violating their visa in Bali by working as trainers for scooter-riding in the Badung area in south Bali.

The two, who visited Bali via visa-on-arrival, were arrested two weeks ago while holding a training for foreign tourists staying on the island for holidays.

The Russians were also targeted thanks to internet sleuths who posted photos and videos of their activities on a number of social media platforms.

"The immigration office conducts patrols not only on the ground but also on social media channels," Sugito said.

Earlier this month, responding to reports of bad behavior and possible criminal activities allegedly committed by Russian and Ukrainian tourists, Bali Governor Wayan Koster proposed to the Foreign Ministry and the Law and Human Rights Ministry an end to the visa-on-arrival option for visitors from those two countries.

Koster also issued a prohibition on foreigners renting motorbikes in an attempt to curb bad behaviour from tourists.

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