Russian fugitive nabbed in Bali after dramatic attempt to escape deportation

Andrey Kovalenko's dramatic sprint out of an Indonesian immigration office was captured on CCTV. PHOTO: INDONESIAN IMMIGRATION/AFP

DENPASAR (AFP) - A Russian fugitive whose dramatic sprint out of an Indonesian immigration office was captured on CCTV has been caught again after two weeks on the run, the authorities said on Wednesday (Feb 24).

Andrey Kovalenko fled the office on Indonesia's resort island of Bali to avoid deportation, with the surveillance footage showing him keeping pace on foot with a motorcycle as he escaped.

The authorities fanned out across the island in the hunt for Kovalenko, who was nabbed early on Wednesday at a villa in tourist hub Kuta along with girlfriend Ekaterina Trubkina, who was wanted for allegedly assisting his escape.

His dash for freedom on Feb 11 came as officials readied to deport Kovalenko back to Russia on an Interpol warrant. The 32-year-old had just finished a prison term following a 2019 arrest for selling hashish to tourists in Bali.

The Interpol warrant was linked to a drugs case back in Kovalenko's home country, said Mr Eko Budianto, head of the immigration division at Bali's justice and legal agency. Trubkina, 31, also Russian, could face up to nine months in prison if convicted of assisting Kovalenko's escape, the authorities said.

Indonesian authorities have previously caught international fugitives wanted by Interpol who sought to hide in Bali. In July last year, Bali police arrested Marcus Beam, an American fugitive accused of scamming US$500,000 (S$660,000) from women he met online between 2015 and 2019. Beam had been hiding in Bali with his girlfriend where he worked as a porn actor-director.

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