Briton, Australian held over Bali policeman's murder

British national David Taylor (wearing a hood) is escorted by police officers after he was arrested over the alleged murder of a police officer in Bali on Aug 19, 2016.
British national David Taylor (wearing a hood) is escorted by police officers after he was arrested over the alleged murder of a police officer in Bali on Aug 19, 2016.PHOTO: EPA
Sara Connor (centre) of Australia is escorted by Indonesia police officials at a station in Denpasar on Indonesia's resort island of Bali on Aug 19, 2016.
Sara Connor (centre) of Australia is escorted by Indonesia police officials at a station in Denpasar on Indonesia's resort island of Bali on Aug 19, 2016.PHOTO: AFP

DENPASAR (AFP) - Indonesian police on Friday (Aug 19) detained an Australian woman and a British man over the brutal murder of a policeman on a popular Bali beach.

Traffic police officer Wayan Sudarsa was found dead in his uniform early Wednesday on Kuta beach, in the south of the resort island, with wounds to his head and neck.

"A smashed beer bottle and smashed-up surfboard were found near him, we suspect those were used in the attack," Bali police chief Sugeng Priyanto told AFP.

Authorities launched a hunt for Australian woman Sara Connor and British man David Taylor over the murder, after Connor's ATM card and driver's licence were found at the crime scene.

The pair, whom police believe are a couple, headed to the Australian consulate where they were arrested on Friday afternoon and then taken to a police station in the Balinese capital Denpasar, said Priyanto.

"We are investigating whether they are the perpetrators or not," he said.

He said he had questioned Connor himself and she had said that she was drunk on the night of the murder and did not remember exactly what happened, but admitted to having had an argument with a policeman.

Taylor refused to say anything as he was waiting for his lawyer, the police chief added.

Witnesses said they saw a man with dreadlocks - like Taylor - arguing with a police officer, according to Priyanto.

A man and woman matching their description were later spotted asking a motorcycle taxi to take them to a hotel but the driver refused as the man was covered in blood.

Police are yet to name either a suspect, a formal step in the Indonesian legal system which means detectives have enough evidence to consider filing charges.

A spokesman for Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said the department was "providing consular assistance to an Australian woman in Bali".

A spokesman for the British embassy in Jakarta said: "We can confirm the arrest of a British national in Bali."

Bali, a pocket of Hinduism in Muslim-majority Indonesia, is a popular tourist destination known for its tropical climate and palm-fringed beaches.

Petty crime is common on the island, although grisly murders are rare.