Terrifying moment Bali tourists held up at knifepoint over taxi fare

The women were filmed in a frightening fare dispute and pleaded with the driver to let them go.

Terrifying video footage has captured the moment two American women were threatened by a knife-wielding taxi driver over the cost of a ride in Bali, while it’s been reported the cabbie has since been caught trying to flee the country.

The frightening three-minute clip taken by one of the tourists begins with the pair begging to be let out of the taxi and asking to go to the police while travelling through Kuta, a beach and resort area in Bali’s south. While they offer the driver 50,000 in Indonesian Rupiah (AUD $4.80) for the fare, he insists on USD50 (A$74).

“No, sir, can you let us out please,” they calmly ask. “You need to let us out of the car.”

The taxi driver reaching back to hit the girls (left and middle) and making a cutting motion on his neck (right).
The taxi driver could be seen attempting to strike the girls several times before appearing to use his hand to make a cutting motion on his neck. Source: YouTube

“You didn’t even bring us to our location,” one of the girls adds. Refusing to pull over and let his passengers leave, the driver tells them, “no, no, no”.

“Call the police,” the woman filming says to her friend, before the man interrupts, “no police, no police”. It’s at this point that the woman attempts to pull on the handle of the car door to find it locked. “Hello, excuse me!” she appears to shout through the closed window before telling the driver that “I’m going to go to that policeman over there right now”.

While she bangs on the car window her friend continues to beg the man. “Let us out and I’ll give you money,” she says. “I’m going to call the US embassy!” the other passenger adds. “Help! Help!” the girls both yell, slamming their hands on the window.

Suddenly, the driver — who has by now pulled over — appears to attempt to strike the woman with the camera. “You’re going to hit us?” she asks, before he strikes again, this time at the other woman. “Oh my god!” that woman screams. “Sir please, I’ll give you money, just let us out right now.” It’s at this point that the driver grabs an item which is believed to be a knife.

While they continue to haggle over the price, the man can be seen trying to hit the woman filming for a second time. “Ok, sir, I’ll give you money, just let us out of the car,” her friend pleads.

After appearing to settle on 50,000 IDR, the women try to hand the driver the cash. “No, USD $50!”, he shouts, before using his hand to make a cutting action at his neck.

“Just give him whatever you have,” the woman filming says to her friend. “Ok here, is that ok?” she asks. “$100, ok?”

The man can be seen studying the note before he turns around to the women once again. “More! More!” he shouts at them.

“That’s all we have,” the woman filming explains. The driver then turns to unlock their doors and gets out of the car. Suddenly, the passenger without the camera begins screaming. “HELP!” Grabbing her belongings, she flees the car, with her friend following right behind her.

The back of the taxi in Bali (left) and the driver (Yanuarius Toebkae).
The driver who's been named in online reports as Yanuarius Toebkae could face 10 years behind bars. Source: YouTube & X/githii

While the girls run out onto the street, the taxi driver can be seen getting back into his vehicle and driving away. “Help!” the girl filming yells at passersby before walking up to a man coming down the street. “That guy just threatened us with a knife!” she says. “That taxi driver just threatened us with a knife!”

According to reports online, the incident sparked a police investigation and a 29-year-old man was arrested at Juanda International Airport in East Java while attempting to flee the country.

Yanuarius Toebkae is expected to face charges under multiple articles of the Indonesian Criminal Code including extortion and carrying a sharp weapon, which could lead to a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

Taxi drivers at war in Bali

Bali tourism expert Wayan Puspa Negara slammed the driver’s behaviour as having “seriously tarnished Bali tourism in the midst of increasing tourist visits to Bali”.

“Strict sanctions must be given to this kind of thing,” he told the Bali Sun. “I condemn the driver’s behaviour so that he is... processed legally as quickly as possible. Because the victim is of course the image of Bali and Balinese society at large.”

The taxi industry has long been shrouded in controversy in Bali since ride-hailing apps began popping up with local private drivers moving to ban online services from popular resorts, arguing that they’re undercutting their rates and stealing customers.

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