A false accusation by a tourist against two innocent young men resulted in them getting violently beaten by an angry local mob in a town in Bali, Indonesia on Sunday.
An Austrian tourist, identified by local media as Viktoria Erlacher, had reportedly claimed earlier that the victims had stolen her money outside an ATM in Ubud. She would retract her accusation the next day, however, clarifying that it was all one big misunderstanding, Coconuts Media reports.
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“I want to clarify that he is innocent and his friend as well,” Erlacher said in a statement. “What happened yesterday was a complete misunderstanding. He did not rob me, and then the community came together thinking that he did rob me, but he is not guilty. Even if it looks like it on the short video.”
According to the local authorities, Erlacher had just withdrawn money from an ATM when she saw the two men, named Seniman and Anan, going in after her.
As the two men were coming out after withdrawing 2 million Indonesian Rupiah ($135) in cash, the tourist stopped them, claiming they had stolen her money.
When the tourist tried to grab the cash away from them, Seniman and Anan held onto it as it was their money to begin with.
“It was just a misunderstanding. She thought (the two men) saw her PIN after she withdrew money, then came two people. After the money was taken, she said the money was hers,” Ubud Police Chief Raka Sugita explained to the press on Monday.
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While the two men and the tourist were arguing about the cash, local residents noticed them and began to intervene. Unfortunately, Seniman and Anan ended up getting accused of stealing, escalating the incident into a violent situation.
In the widely shared footage of the incident, a crowd of people can be seen surrounding the victims, 21-year-old Seniman and 18-year-old Anan, on the street of Jl. Hanoman.
The angry mob pushed the young men down, bound their wrists, and placed them on the back of a motorbike. Throughout the clip, both Seniman and Anan are shown receiving kicks, punches and random blows from the people.
“Because of the tug-of-war, there were some residents who came, just as they passed Jl. Hanoman. Some said pickpockets, some said robbery,” the police chief was quoted as saying.
“It’s very sad to see the community act like this. Without knowing the problem, they immediately acted, kicking. Some were even in a car and got out of the car to hit (the victims) then run away. I hope something like this doesn’t happen again. The community must be mature in responding to problems,” he added.
At the police station, the foreigner admitted upon questioning that that the two men did not take her money, explaining that it was a misunderstanding.
“It’s settled. The westerner returned the IDR300k (US$20) lost money. Then the westerner accompanied them to the hospital.”
The woman reportedly paid for the victims’ medical bills and money that they lost during the commotion. While it was not revealed how severe the victims’ injuries were, the now viral video of the brutal beating shows them sustaining dark bruises on their faces.
It was also not reported whether charges were filed against the mob who beat up the young men.
Featured Image via Instagram / denpasar.viral