A Russian yoga aficionado may face jail time and a huge fine after posing naked next to a 700-year-old tree in Bali. A Bali local saw the images online and reported them to authorities. The influencer has turned herself in and apologised.
A Russian Instagram influencer, who has 18k followers at the time of writing, is in hot water for a photo she took next to a sacred tree in Bali.
Her profile is now on private, and she has deleted the offending image. She has also published an apology, having returned to the tree after a local complained, and apologised, this time fully clothed.
She also reportedly turned herself in to police. As she told followers: “I just prayed under a tree and went straight to the police station to explain this incident and apologise.”
Local resident and entrepreneur Niluh Djelantik saw the image and reported it to the authorities.
Mr Djelantik said the tree is old and sacred and is known as Kayu Putih (a weeping paperbark). It is reportedly located at the Babakan Temple in Tabanan.
Some reports claim the influencer could be charged with spreading pornography (Bali has a strict Information and Electronic Transactions Act).
AdelaideNow reports that, if convicted of spreading pornography, the influencer could face up to six years in prison or a fine of IDR 1 billion (AU $97,108).
On Instagram, the influencer said: “I appeal to all my friends and all my guests of Bali. I unknowingly made a big mistake for which I regret and I want to tell you so that you don’t repeat it.”
“I apologise to all Balinese and Indonesian people, I regret my actions.”
She went on: “I’m so embarrassed, I didn’t mean to offend you in any way.”
At the time of writing, Tabanan Police spokesperson Ranefli Dian Candra had not revealed what punishment, if any, the yoga enthusiast will face.
According to The Bali Sun, local reports indicate that “the case is being handled with amicability and fairness” and that the influencer “has committed to pay for any costs incurred in performing a full cleansing ritual at the temple and the tree itself.”
The Bali Sun adds: “Following her time at the police station, she and her husband joined the temple’s priest to pray at the tree and apologize for her actions.”
“It seems that this willingness to make amends is going a long way in ensuring that the criminal investigation does not escalate further,” (The Bali Sun).
Update: The ABC reports that the influencer, and her husband, “will be deported and barred from entering Indonesia for six months.”
According to the ABC, “Despite the apology, Bali’s Governor, Wayan Koster, personally ordered her deportation, saying in a statement it was ‘far important to preserve the culture and respect the dignity of Bali’ than tolerate such behaviour for tourist dollars.”
This is not the first time tourists have come under scrutiny for their behaviour in Bali. A Canadian man got in trouble for dancing naked at the top of a mountain recently and two Youtubers faced deportation after a ‘cheeky’ stunt went wrong last year.