A man and a woman from Australia were paraded through the streets of Gili Trawangan island in Indonesia after they were accused of stealing a bicycle on Saturday. The pair wore signs around their necks that warned others about the consequences of stealing.
According to the Indonesian police, the couple were caught on CCTV stealing the bicycle at around 1 PM local time. The so-called walk of shame was done on Sunday, with the accused wearing the sign: “I AM THIEVE. DON’T DO WHAT I DID…!!!”.
The Australian pair, who booked a diving trip, has left the island since. The punishment was actually a common practice on the Gili Islands, most commonly on Gili Trawangan.
According to Lalu Muhamad Fauzal, the head of West Nusa Tenggara province tourism office, the practice is performed to discourage others from committing crimes, the BBC reports. He points out that the method is effective and there is little crime on the island.
It was actually agreed upon by the locals and the police in the mainland since the island has no police presence. Most of the individuals who are punished with this are locals and a few foreigners who are drunk or broke and forced to steal money.
According to Mike, a man who works at a dive shop, the punishment was meted out between seven and nine times to tourists this year alone.
The BBC reports that it is still not clear if the walk of shame has a legal basis. However, people actually prefer this than having to face the Indonesian court and be fined or suffer a worse fate.
Apparently, locals add that some innocent people have also undergone such practice but they would rather be humiliated in public instead of facing formal charges under the country’s justice system, which is known for corruption and lack of transparency, the BBC states.