I have been snatched in Bali, few days after we arrived in the most touristic area of the island called Seminyak. Consequently, my purse was stolen with my mobile phone and my passport inside. Even though that city looks quite safe and relax, let me tell you my story and give you some tips about how to keep safe in Bali and how to deal after you lost your passport while travelling.
Snatched in Bali : how it happened
We were driving home after a party night in Sky Garden club around 2 am. I was sitting behind Pierre on our motorbike and we were driving through a rather empty road in the center of Seminyak. I was carrying my leather purse as a shoulder bag, when I felt something pulling hard on it. After few seconds, I realized that two guys on a motorbike were driving on our left side and that one of them was pulling hard on my purse. Given the violence of the gesture, it was fortunate that we did not fall on the ground straight away. I tried to hold my bag, but the thong broke, we fell down and they speeded up. No one was there to help us. Fortunately, we had no big accident as there were no traffic jam in the streets at that time. Pierre had one of his toes open and I had little scars on one knee, but no horrific injury. It was totally creepy, but after sharing our story with some French expats living in Bali, we realized how worse it could have been. They all knew somebdoy who had been snatched once or suffered any agression. One guy told us about one of his girlfriends who was snatched in Bali while driving solo her motorbike. She fell with her purse and the abuser dragged her on the ground for 300 meters. She is now burned to life on her hip. We even heard stories about deceased people. It makes you perspective on your situation… Anyways, after that event, we became quite paranoid with all our belongings. It definitely reminded us that even though the place looks chill, one should always be careful ! About Bali, you can hear a lot of snatching stories happening especially around Kuta, Seminyak and Canggu. So, watch yourself when you get in those places !
What to do if you lose your passport while travelling
1/ First of all, you have to declare the assault to the nearest police station.
That simple action actually took us three days. In Bali, every police station belongs to a district. We had to visit three police stations to be redirected to the one affiliated to the street we had been attacked in. When we got to that police station, we had difficulties to communicate as the officer did not understand any word in English and could barely speak English himself (he even complained that we did not bring an official translator with us !). After a few minutes communicating in deaf language, another officer came to us. We could explain him the situation, but he did not take our complaint anyways and told us to come back on Monday morning (it was Saturday morning at the moment).
2/ You have to go to your country’s Embassy or Consulate
On Monday morning, we came back to the police station. Complaining before us was a couple from New Zealand. Both of their passports and some of their money had been stolen in their hotel. When we had to declare our assault, we faced a funny situation. I had to write on a paper what happened, and right after the policeman supposed to copy it on his computer asked me to copy it myself on his computer ! Then, another officer came to sign the paper. Before giving us the paper, he asked us 100 000 Rp (7 euros), then we could leave. Welcome to one of the most corrupted country in the world !
After the police station, we directly headed to the French Consulate in Bali. It is important to go first to the police as the Consulate will need your police statement to start processing. Depending on your situation, you may get a give-way paper or an emergency passport. In our case, I could get an emergency passport in two weeks. This time limit forced us to cancel our trip to the Gilis islands, but without a new passport, the one-year trip would have been jeopoardized ! All in all, every cloud has a silver lining.
If needed, here are the contact information of the French Consulate in Bali :
Adress: Jl. Umalas I No.80, Kerobokan, Kuta, Kabupaten Badung, Bali
Tel: +62 361 – 4730834
By the way, the French Consulate is located on a very cute little alley as you can see on the pictures below.