Monday, March 19, 2012

Tourists praise Bali anti-terror police

Perth tourists and expats have praised Indonesian authorities for foiling terror attacks on three Balinese targets.

Former Daily News journalist John Kelly said the Balinese were incensed that terrorism was international news again less than six months before the 10th anniversary of the Sari Club massacre of 202 people.

Mr Kelly, who has lived in Bali for almost 18 years, said the shootouts were "the talk of the town" for locals but tourists had largely ignored them.

"The Balinese are very pro-Australian and they are very angry at this," he said. "There's very little crime here."

Rob and Helen Pinson and Henry and Helene Hazebroek had been dining less than 1km from where three terrorists were killed at a hotel.

In Bali with 35 other people for the wedding of Perth couple Sharon Reimers and Garry Holt, they were in a taxi going to their hotel when the road was blocked.

"It came as a bit of a shock when the taxi driver's son rang to tell him terrorists had been shot dead," Mr Pinson said.

"The driver was really dirty. They don't like terrorists. It really affects their livelihood."

Mr Pinson, who has visited Bali a couple of times a year for five years, is one of about 5000 Australians on the island at any time. "The only thing we were really happy about is that the police were right on top of it," he said. "It's good they had such a crack operation."

Mr Hazebroek said the shootout was a "little close to home" but he has visited Bali twice a year since 1980 and was buoyed by security in Denpasar and surrounding tourists spots.

He plans to return for the Kuta bombing's 10th anniversary to support son-in-law Phil Britten, the Kingsley footballer who almostly died in the 2002 attack and, with his wife Rebecca, is behind the Bali Peace Park project.

Perth-based Indonesia Institute head Ross Taylor said the raid was not hugely surprising.

"The Australian Federal Police and Indonesian police have really smashed the big groups like Jemaah Islamiyah (which was behind the 2002 bombings)," he said. "The problem now is these little splinter groups that can work in anonymity. It's a bit more complicated tracing cells of two or three people."

Source: TheWest.com.au

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