Villagers on a trio of remote Indonesian islands have developed their own unusual way of dealing with suspected criminals.
Two Australian tourists are the latest to fall victim to the innovative justice, otherwise known as the “walk of shame”, meted out by residents of the Gili Islands, after allegedly being caught on CCTV stealing a bike.
The unidentified pair, a young man and woman, were photographed being led through the streets of Gili Trawangan by police officers with signs hung around their necks that read, all in caps: “I am thieve don’t do what I did…!!!”
Photos of the punishment were shared on Facebook by an account linked to the Gili Islands. The post read: “‘The walk of shame’ and afterwards a one-way boat ride to Lombok [the nearest major island] is the punishment for stealing on The Gilis.”
Village chief Muhamad Taufik told the AFP: “We interrogated them, made an agreement, paraded them around the island and forced them to leave Gili.
“The walk of shame parade is a regulation in our village. I don’t know whether the police are charging them now, what matters to me is that they’re now gone.”
It has been reported the pair has now left the islands, which have no motorised transport and a population of about 3,500. It is popular with tourists for its remote island experience, dive sites and party vibe.
Bali, Indonesia: where to go in pictures
In her Telegraph Travel guide to the Indonesian islands, Michelle Jana Chan said of Lombok and the Gilis: “About 30 miles east of Bali is low-profile Lombok. There is excellent surfing in the south, and a 30-minute boat ride off the north coast are the Gili Islands ringed by fine sand and coral reefs with villa resorts and spa retreats. Local transport is by bicycle and horse-drawn carts called cidomos. Mount Rinjani, one of Indonesia’s highest peaks, offers a spectacular two-night climb to the summit with views of its crater lake.”
It is not the first time photos of the “walk of shame” have emerged. Earlier images have shown a single male in a similar convoy with a sign around his neck reading: “I’m a thief I stole don’t do what I did.”
Unusual laws around the world
Another man was photographed being paraded with a sign that read: “I am from France. I am a thief. Do not trust me.”
It has been suggested that tourists accept the punishment to avoid more serious sanctions and the prospect of a legal battle. The practice is the product of an agreement between locals and police on the mainland on how to impose law on islands with no permanent police presence.
Though this punishment might seem quite lenient, Indonesian laws are notoriously strict, especially when it comes to drugs – possession can carry the death penalty.