‘Lucky to be alive’: Deadly threat in Bali
It's the popular holiday combo that's become a deadly mix for tourists enjoying their time in Bali - owning a mobile phone and hiring a moped while on the island.
But it's a pairing that's turning tourists into targets for motorcycle muggers, who are putting lives at risk simply to get their hands on a free device.
This week, 18-year-old high school graduate Lawson Rankin from Newcastle was left fighting for his life after he was thrown from his scooter while out riding with friends during a Schoolies trip.
But what caused the horror accident has become a growing concern for people visiting the party island.
According to his cousin Taren Brown, who has started a GoFundMe page, Mr Rankin was trailing two friends on a scooter when a local motorcycle rider snatched a phone belonging to a friend and sped off.
Mr Rankin, who studied at St Francis Xavier's College on the NSW mid-north coast, took off around his friends' bike in pursuit of the thief and the phone.
But that's when tragedy struck and he was found moments later in a sewerage pipe, unconscious and with his head covered in cuts. He hasn't woken from a coma since.
Tragically, it's a brutal attack happening more and more on the island, and a problem Australian tourist Andrew Bateman said he and his daughter also experienced first hand.
Mr Bateman and his 17-year-old daughter Hannah were forced to end their holiday early after they were thrown off their scooter by two locals wanting to get their hands on his new iPhone.
Following dinner with his daughter, the pair were making their way back to their hotel near Kuta when "out of nowhere" two men came up beside them.
"It all happened so quickly," Mr Bateman told news.com.au.
"Our valuables were out of sight and secure, but they came up next to me and tried to rip my phone out of Hannah's hand.
"They grabbed her arm and pulled us off the bike at speed … we hit the pavement hard and they rode away. They could've killed us."
Mr Bateman and his "terrified" daughter were left severely injured in the street as the thieves raced away with his device
Receiving a broken shoulder, cracked collarbone and five snapped ribs, Mr Bateman said his daughter was lucky to walk away with just a fractured wrist and a few cuts to her arms and legs.
"This was all over an iPhone," he said. "We could have both been easily killed … people are going to lose their lives over a phone."
Mr Bateman, who has travelled throughout South-East Asia and spent a lot of time on holidays in Bali, said he will never return to the island again - nor will his "traumatised" teenage daughter.
"These gangs are preying on tourists," he said.
"It's all very organised … and they are just picking people off. Hannah was too scared to even leave the hotel after what happened. They didn't care what happened to us … they just wanted the phone."
Bali, which has often been referred to as "The Island Of the Gods" has long been Indonesia's most popular tourist destination. But visitors to the holiday island need to be wary of robbery, with the theft of iPhones just the tip of the iceberg for tourists.
"My partner received a message the next morning (after the theft) saying my iPhone had been found, but it was just an attempt for the thieves to phish my Apple ID, password and to access my phone (which I had disabled immediately)," he explained.
"Since then, we have received multiple fake emails and messages from 'Apple'. The messages look legit, but aren't. This is clearly an organised crime racket."
Earlier this year, local police arrested two men suspected to be involved in a similar attack after they allegedly stole a mobile from a Singaporean couple on holiday in Bali.
According to The Straits Times, Eugene Aathar, 24, was riding a scooter with his wife Dolly Ho, 22, who was using her phone to navigate the streets with Google Maps.
Two men on a scooter then rode up beside the young couple, kicking their scooter and snatching the Samsung S10 device, causing the couple to fall off.
Mr Aathar suffered minor injuries, while Ms Ho had a concussion and a fractured shoulder, among other injuries.
Mr Bateman said he and his daughter were lucky to walk away with minimal injuries in comparison to what has happened to Lawson Rankin, but hopes his experience will serve as a warning to anyone travelling to Indonesia.
"My thoughts are with Lawson and his family," Mr Bateman said. "This was the start of his life … a holiday with his mates just doing the right thing and someone has stolen his phone gone after him. It's tragic.
"The Balinese people are lovely - you just need to be mindful of the others living there who have no regard for your life," he added.
"It's getting out of hand and police are not doing anything. It's so highly organised …
"Unfortunately these things happen and unfortunately it happened to us. But we will never go back and I'd never recommend going."
Comparetravelinsurance.com.au director Natalie Ball, said these incidents were becoming all too common and tourists needed to be wary.
"Scams targeting tourists overseas are common and opportunists are getting better and more brazen with their tactics," she told news.com.au.
"It can be hard to avoid well-organised crimes, but the best thing you can do is to try to minimise your risk. Leave your valuables behind and to keep your wits about you. If possible, avoid crowded areas that are well known for "tourist trapping".
"Thankfully, if you're the unlucky victim of a snatch and grab, comprehensive travel insurance would cover you for items that were stolen from you."
A spokeswoman from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said: "We continue to be concerned about the number of motorbike accidents involving Australians in Bali and other south-east Asia destinations.
"Bag and phone snatching is a risk in Bali and elsewhere. Our advice is to report theft to the local police and have insurance that covers property theft."