Tourist in Bali "kidnapped" and scammed out of $2000
A MAN on holiday in Bali was reportedly kidnapped for hours and forced to play a card game that swindled him out of $2000 in what appears part of a scary scam targeting tourists on the holiday island.
The New Zealand man, who was in Bali with his family, was out and about on his own one day when a local man approached him for a friendly chat.
But things quickly turned scary when the man was locked in a car, taken to a remote location and forced to partake in a betting card game that wiped out his funds, the New Zealand Herald reports.
The man's wife, who spoke to the Herald on his behalf because he was still "too traumatised to talk", said the Balinese man sat next to her husband on a park bench and made small talk.
He said his sister was moving to Auckland for work, and when he asked the Kiwi man if he would talk to her about life in New Zealand, the tourist obliged.
"My husband just thought, being a really nice guy, that it was fine," his wife told the Herald.
The man got in a car with the local man to talk to the sister, but once inside, "the doors got shut and he got locked in and then he was driven away," according to his wife.
"They drove him into a property where they locked the gate," she said. "They took him inside and they sat [him] down, they wouldn't let him leave."
Inside the house there was a man and woman playing cards. The tourist was told he had to play a round, and then "up the stakes" by betting money.
"He tried to do what he was told because he was obviously quite scared by that stage," his wife said.
"They kept saying 'Oh you're winning, you're winning. You'll just have to keep playing for a little bit longer'."
When the man ran out of cash, his captors drove him to a local ATM where he was forced to withdraw more than NZ$2000.
"He just tried to do everything to get out of it at this stage because he was really terrified. He swiped his card and they just took out every last bit of money," his wife said.
After four and a half hours, the tourist was eventually put in a taxi and sent back to his hotel. Before they let him go, his captors handed him a mobile phone and said, "We'll be in touch".
His wife said the man gave the phone to hotel reception and contacted the New Zealand embassy in Jakarta.
The embassy told him to report what happened to local police and to return to New Zealand with his family immediately.
"It was like, 'we're not safe here'," the man's wife said, adding the ordeal was "really terrifying".
She said the family ended up cutting their holiday a week short and had to pay $2000 to change their flights because their insurance provider refused to cover them.
New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed to the Herald the New Zealand Embassy in Jakarta was contacted for consular assistance.
The man's ordeal appears similar to that of an Australian couple who were conned out of $18,000 in 2011.
The pair was also taken to a locked compound where they were forced to play blackjack with a "rich businessman" and had to draw out their money to keep betting, the West Australian reported at the time.
Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade warns tourists in Indonesia should be aware of scams and confidence tricks, including those that involve card games.
"Travellers have reported losing large sums of money in card game scams and other fraudulent activity, including in Bali," the department says.
In December, British backpacker Dave Stokes told news.com.au he fell victim to an elaborate mobile phone robbery scam during a night out in Kuta.