JAKARTA - Bali police have arrested two men in connection with a snatch theft involving a Singaporean couple who were on holiday on the Indonesian resort island last month.
Indonesian news site detik.com reported on Thursday (June 13) that I Wayan Adiasa alias Dayuh, 26, and Komang Joni, 24, were nabbed on Tuesday in Legian, a neighbourhood located north of Kuta beach where Mr Aathar and his wife were attacked on May 6. The robbery received widespread media coverage at the time.
"During the interrogation of the perpetrators, the suspect Dayuh confessed to have committed the offence on the victims with his partner Komang Joni alias Mang Ewes," Commissioner Andi Fairan of the Bali police told reporters on Thursday.
Police said the tourists from Singapore were targeted as they appeared distracted while checking Google Maps on their smartphone.
Mr Aathar, 24, told The Straits Times during an interview earlier that he and his wife were returning to their villa in Kuta on a rented scooter when they were attacked.
Ms Ho, 22, was riding pillion and navigating with Google Maps on her smartphone when the suspects pulled up alongside them on a motorcycle.
Egged on by Dayuh, Komang snatched Ms Ho's smartphone, said Commissioner Andi.
One of the suspects then kicked Mr Aathar's scooter, knocking him as well as his wife down. Mr Aathar received minor injuries while his wife suffered a concussion and a fractured shoulder, among other things.
Ms Ho said she also experienced memory loss and could not recall what happened.
Commissioner Andi said the suspects sold the smartphone and split the proceeds with each receiving 2.2 million rupiah (S$210).
"The proceeds of their crime was used for their daily needs," Commissioner Andi said. "Mang Ewes also admitted that he used the money to buy milk for his children and it was the first time he had committed snatch theft."
ST interviewed the couple after the attack. "It all happened so fast," said Mr Aathar, who said he called for help as the culprits rode off.
A man came up to him and asked where his scooter was. After Mr Aathar pointed to where it was, the man rode off on it.
The couple had rented the Honda Scoopy for 125,000 rupiah from the villa where they stayed.
A copy of the police report, seen by ST, showed they also lost 12 million rupiah which was kept on the scooter.
Mr Aathar eventually managed to stop a van driver, who drove them to the Siloam Hospital Denpasar.
Throughout their ordeal, the couple said they received help from Mr Aathar's family - his brother flew to Bali after finding out about the incident - as well as consular assistance from the Singapore Embassy.
Mr Aathar told ST on Friday that he did not know of the news until contacted by ST, and was surprised as he had thought it would be very difficult for the culprits to be caught.
He is now hoping that the person who stole the bike the couple rented can also be identified.
"Of course it helps with getting closure. We cannot confirm it is them because everything happened so fast, and we don't want them to be wrongly prosecuted.
"But if it is the correct people then it gives us a reassurance that people can be brought to justice."
He said that his wife was affected by the scars on her face, which could be permanent. She is otherwise "recovering well", and has just returned to work recently after being on medical leave for about a month.