Russian Begpackers sent home from Indonesia

I have written previously about the phenomenon of “begpackers” where travelers find ways of earning money in their developing country destination through begging and/or busking.

A Russian couple were videoed busking illegally at a market on Lombok island (Indonesia) two weeks ago. They reportedly told officials that they were street musicians who regularly travel around the world, and claimed that they were running out of money.

A 29 year old man (MB), a 28-year-old woman (E), and their 2-year-old daughter (S), were taken into custody, as   “The activities of the three foreigners disrupted public order, so administrative action was taken from immigration,” Syahrifullah, Head of the Mataram Immigration Office.

MB said I was playing music in Bali, but the police forbid us when it’s our way of buying food and surviving. We only have enough money for one month to stay in Bali, so we went to Lombok in search of a busking opportunity, but the door was closed for that too,

This was not the first time, the family had encountered official trouble.

They had been arrested in Kuala Lumpur on February 4 last year and questioned over alleged abuse of the then four-month-old after they had been seen swinging their baby by the legs and throwing it in the air during a street act. The couple had stated, at the time that these performances allowed them to travel through Asia.

This type of “baby dynamics” is practiced and  and legal in Russia but caused significant public concern in Malaysia. A prominent NGO campaigned for tougher penalties . The baby was found to be unharmed with no sign of injuries. The family were released with a caution to stay off the street.  You may find this video disturbing:

So a year and a bit later, the family are arrested again! The family were not charged with any crime with Indonesian Immigration stating , “We’re giving them leeway because we’re in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic. If there’s no Covid-19 we would surely act more strictly.”

They were put on a boat at around 6:30am on 3rd of May at the Lembar Port, West Lombok, and crossed to Bali. From there they were deported at 9pm that night from Bali’s  Ngurah Rai International Airport. The  flight  was reportedly arranged by the Russian Consulate in Bali.

I wonder if they will return to Asia?

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  1. Too bad. They weren’t stealing. They were earning money in a dignified way.

    But they were not needed in an area already overrun with people. Should have v stayed home.

    Really hard to say what’s right.

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