Indonesia to deport Australian surfer after drunken assault

By AFP   June 7, 2023 | 07:56 pm PT
Indonesia to deport Australian surfer after drunken assault
A woman pushes luggage at Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali, Indonesia, July 3, 2021. Photo by Reuters
An Australian surfer detained after launching a drunken assault in Indonesia's most conservative province will be deported, officials said Wednesday.

Bodhi Mani Risby-Jones, 23, from Noosa in southern Queensland was facing five years in prison after attacking several people in April on the surf island of Simeulue.

But the Australian tourist will return home after apologizing and paying compensation to a wounded victim, the head of the immigration office in Meulaboh city in West Aceh told AFP.

"Bodhi Mani Risby-Jones is currently in our detention, awaiting to be returned to his home country," Fauzi, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, said.

Ultra-conservative Aceh -- a province granted special autonomous status -- prohibits alcohol and is the only region in the world's most populous Muslim-majority country that imposes Islamic law.

Officials said the tourist appeared naked from his local resort and started to hit passersby including a fisherman on a motorcycle, throwing him off and wounding him.

That victim of the alleged attack agreed to forgive him, allowing the case to be dropped, Risby-Jones' lawyer told reporters.

Risby-Jones paid 250 million rupiah ($16,814) to the fisherman in part to cover his medical costs, the lawyer said.

Those acts of repentance allowed him to avoid trial for assault, which carried a maximum sentence of five years.

Risby-Jones was taken from detention on Simeulue island Tuesday to Meulaboh, from where he was due to fly home later this week.

He was paraded before the media after his release Tuesday at a press conference, shown in a dark shirt standing alongside officials.

"I made a fool of myself and it was shown publicly worldwide. Respect the rules," he said in a message to Australians.

The tourist appeared again at an immigration office on Wednesday where he spoke of his relief.

"I couldn't wipe the smile off of my face yesterday, it just felt so good to be out of prison," he told reporters.

Asked if he would ever return to Indonesia, he said: "I'd like to. Yeh, I'd like to."

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