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Image: Jalan Legian, Kuta. Credit: bali2017.blogspot.com

Kuta police arrested an Australian man, Tore Gerard Vincenzo Bempasciuto, 23, after attacking two taxi drivers on Jalan Legian on Tuesday morning. One driver, Saiful Nurokhim, 43, received a bruised mouth and eye and had his cellphone broken on the ground. The second taxi driver, Zainal, 36, was hit while trying to help his colleague.

The Head of Kuta Polsek, First Inspector I Putu Ika Prabawa, stated Wednesday that the case began when the victim was chatting with other drivers parked on Jalan Legian on Tuesday at around 4am. The suspect passed by with his girlfriend and appeared to be angry at that time.

Suddenly the man approached the taxi driver and head butted him without apparent cause. He then seized the driver’s cellphone and left.

“The victim chased the suspect trying to get his cellphone back,” Ika said to balipost.com. The suspect didn’t return the phone, but instead punched the victim in the face causing him to fall to the sidewalk.

“CCTV recordings also showed that the suspect’s girlfriend also beat the victim after he fell on the sidewalk,” he added.

After the suspect saw the victim fall, he slammed the victim’s cellphone to pieces on the ground. The victim’s friend, Zainal, who was trying to help him, was also hit by the suspect in the left temple. After hitting Zainal, the suspect tried to escape but he slipped because the sidewalk was wet.

The man hurriedly got up and ran away as now many friends of the taxi driver were on the scene.

“When we searched the area, we found the suspect and woman were hiding on the 3rd floor of a minimarket warehouse, south of the scene,” Ika concluded.

It is not yet known why the man was angry and attacked the taxi driver. The perpetrator and his female friend have been secured at Kuta Sector Police for further investigation.