Tuesday, October 19, 2021

‘Naughty’ foreigners without masks in Bali punished with push-ups

Local police often do not fine maskless offenders who admit their mistakes, just those who talk back to officers.

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Foreigners caught flouting Bali’s Covid-19 health protocols are being forced to do push-ups by the police as punishment, according to Australia’s ABC network.

Local headlines described those caught not wearing masks as “naughty bule”, bule being an Indonesian word for foreigners, especially Caucasians.

Tourists in Bali, many of them stranded by pandemic border closures, tend to congregate in the Badung area, on popular Kuta and Seminyak beaches, which is where thousands of coronavirus protocol violations occur.

“Most offenders were not bringing their masks, not wearing them properly, and some businesses were not applying health protocols,” Badung Public Order Agency chief I Gusti Agung Kerta Suryanegara told the ABC.

“Many foreigners were found walking on the beach, sitting in restaurants, and riding motorbikes without masks,” he said.

Many offenders were local Balinese, Suryanegara said, but 80% were foreigners.

Those who committed minor mistakes, such as bringing their mask but not wearing it, were asked to do push-ups or sweep the street, by police.

“We didn’t fine those who admitted their mistakes,” Suryanegara said. “We just fined those who talked back to officers.”

Kadek Astika lives in Kerobokan, in Badung, and runs a couple of villas in the area.

She said foreigners ignoring mask rules proved that many tourists do not respect local culture.

“Even before the pandemic we saw many foreign tourists, particularly the young ones, not following the rules. They ride bikes without helmets and get drunk and fight in the streets,” she said. “Balinese people must lead by example to get foreigners to follow rules and the government should send clearer messages.”

Tighter restrictions are now being imposed in Bali, requiring restaurants to close by 9pm.

However, local media have reported authorities being involved in arguments when foreigners refuse to leave restaurants after the deadline.

Last week, the governor of Bali, I Wayan Koster, said since many foreigners were “difficult to manage” the Bali government would take further action.

He said, “Tourists not wearing masks will not be allowed to enter tourist destinations and restaurants from now on.”

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