How Australian’s Ruined Kuta | Islands power dynamics: “… run by gangsters as much as police.”


Bali really is paradise on earth, but if you peek into the corners you’re gonna find some dark shadows. Surf writer Jed Smith has come out with some great articles about the other side of Bali’s tourist scene and this one on how Australian’s ruined Kuta is no different. It briefly dives into how the tranquil Bali scene of the 70’s has transformed into a lawless, gangster run, sex worker strewn, night club district where nearly 100 Aussies a year can die.



“The girls attract the attention of several young Balinese men, one of whom, I am informed, is the son of an infamous local gangster. He has the word ‘Respect’ tattooed on his forehead and is covered in gold. He can get us everything from shabu (ice) to cocaine, ecstasy, marijuana and mushrooms with impunity.

“That’s why all the chicks love ‘im ‘ere,” the young Australian tells me.

Few western tourists properly understand the power dynamics of this island. Notably, that it is run by gangsters as much as police (law enforcement gave up the moral high ground decades ago when they indulged in constant, barely concealed bribery and corruption). As a foreigner in Bali today it’s hard to know who to turn to when things go wrong.”



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