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Beware of thefts in set-up bike crashes

Riding motorbikes in bali traffic jam two

Beware of thefts in set-up bike crashes

Living in Bali is is good to beware of thefts in set-up bike crashes. I have heard of three instances of phone thefts in set-up bike crashes, along with the theft, if possible, of bags and money.

Have you had reason to beware of thefts in set-up bike crashes in Bali? Write about it at the bottom of this page.

Cars used to knock bikes over

The first one entailed two women riding a motorbike along Jalan Sunset on a Monday night.

The driver noticed that a car was coming up close behind them and she became suspicious. She slowed down to let the car pass, but it just stayed very close behind her.

After a moment or two the car sped up, driving into the bike, knocking the driver and passenger off and crashing the bike.

The car immediately took off before they could gather their wits and check the registration number.

Immediately three local men on bikes stopped, apparently helpful and full of sympathy.

They helped them to their feet, asked them where they lived so they could visit later (!!), and then left.

Once they had gone the girls realised that both of their bags with phones and money had been taken.

One of the women has lived in Bali for 10 years and is aware of the dangers behind the smile but it happened too fast for her to see it.

Plus of course being in physical shock from being knocked off her bike on purpose.

Clearly a planned heist and a dangerous one, using a car to knock people off their bikes. A gang with money already as they have a car.

This is no spontaneous theft from desperate men, which of course means is that these guys are out there looking for more victims.

These are Bali gangs with well practised modus operandi.

Girls on bikes used to knock other bikes over

The second instance was a 40 year old Aussie guy who had also lived in Bali for many years was driving his bike down Jalan Oberoi in Seminyak one night after being at a bar for some hours.

He said that a pretty young girl on a bike passed him, and then proceeded to slow down in front of him, eventually dropping her speed to about 10-15ks, placing herself right in front of the guy’s bike.

She then braked suddenly and of course he crashed into the back of her bike, falling off.

Immediately he was surrounded for three local guys who helped him up, dusted him off and helped him stand his bike up again, and then they took off.

He was initially confused that the girl had taken off immediately but of course she did not want to be identified.

Once they had all gone he realised his iPhone had been stolen. It was the fourth phone he had lost in a year.

They had distracted him with apparent kindness to give the girl time to get away before he noticed the theft.

Local girls often have stories of riding home at night with guys of bikes riding up close, one reaching over and cutting the straps of her bag and taking it, or cutting a hole in a bag and extracting phone or purse.

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This kind of thing can happen to guys or girls, to people who are new to Bali or those who have lived here for years.

The third instance involved a pretty young local girl I know who was riding home after clubbing early one morning.

Some guys on a bike rammed her from behind, pushing her into a taxi whereupon she fell off her bike.

In pain, she did not notice that the guys who helped her had emptied her bag of money, phone and ID card.

She was taken to hospital where she had an undiagnosed broken leg (see Are Indonesian doctors the worst? ).

A month or so later she was able to return to work, lucky not to have her life destroyed by these hoodlums.

Recently there was a story of a 15 year-old Balinese girl who, after being robbed on her bike, chased the thief, caught him 3-4ks away, and who then bashed him up using her karate skills.

The police came and took him away. A victory for women in Bali.

The economic impacts of hospitalisation of locals is usually devastating, and life changing, removing many economic choices, especially for young women in Bali without any financial back-up.

Medical Expenses 

Most locals are uninsured so going to hospital can be radical economically, but it is just as bad for Westerners.

If you do not have a valid international bike licence you are not insured, and will have to pay exhorbitant fees for basic medical care.

See Are Indonesian doctors the worst? for an example of how radical this can be.

Bills in excess of $20,000 can be expected, and if you need to be flown to Darwin or Singapore, it can go up to $100,000, if you have it.


While it is an ugly option, tasers are available in Bali for around 300k, offering some protection, or at least an option for women.

But, of course, they are also available to the predators as well.

Being zapped by someone on a bike is not a very appealing prospect.

Men need to do something about protecting women

Personally I never see any of these kind of things, but really I feel that local men, both Balinese and other Indonesian, need to do something to make the streets safe for women.

They know who is doing stuff, or can find out, and need to make a stand. Otherwise it is their wives or daughters next to be hospitalised.

Not to mention their livelihoods disappearing as tourists get to scared to come to Bali.

Be aware that people who do not have much money will develop quite elaborate schemes to get yours!!

When they can sell an iPhone for the equivalent of two month’s wages the temptation is strong.

I myself had my iPhone taken twice, most likely at Mint nightclub, by girls taking advantage of the crush to brush up against me and extract my phone from my pocket. Quite easy if you practise it!!

So yes, while it is fabulous to relax in Bali and enjoy the peaceful feeling, and the absence of rules an enforced laws, remember, there are no rules and anything goes.

Be careful, pay attention to what is around you, especially late at night after drinking.

See also Bali Bag snatching, a feminist issue on this website

By Mark O’Brien, March 2014

Adam Fitzgibbon May 19, 2014 at 3:21 pm

The same team in Oberoi did the same thing to me. I am 39 years old, have lived here for 3 years, and it was the 7th phone I lost in one year to pick pockets and organised gangs of criminals. Meeting at La Favella today at 4pm with concerned expats.

admin May 20, 2014 at 11:45 am

No wonder it sounded familiar to you. It was your story I was writing about!!

Eleanor lee July 2, 2014 at 6:11 am

I visit Bali very often, it has been a good 10 years now and I used to go out almost every night till late and sometimes dawn and it was always safe but I guess it's not anymore. On the 10th June 2014 I was out with a big gay friend of mine and our last stop was a club near Double 6. We left about 2/3am and were making our way back towards Seminyak. Just outside Circle K 2 boys wave at us so we wave back. I was on the bike with my gay friend and the next thing there was someone pulling my bag and when I turned around it was the 2 of them. We put up a fight on the bike but guess they was very experienced at robbery tactics. I tried very hard to fight for my bag and they suddenly just speed off and me and my big gay friend fell off the bike. They took away my everything and I'm glad we were not badly injured just some cuts here and there with no broken bones. This is unacceptable as if you are thief it is bad enough but now you are a murderer, so what is the different between terrorists and them? They simply don't care about people's life. This is really horrible. It happens everyday apparently and the police are not doing anything so guess heaven on earth had became a living hell. It such a shame; very sad indeed! I wish Bali safe and happiness. Hope someone can put a atop to this act soon if not there will be no more tourists; that is not good for Bali. We need a hero in Bali someone with power! God bless Bali!

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