Chinese consulate general following progress in the case of the deaths of two Chinese tourists in Bali, as Indonesia govt demands rapid police solution
Published: May 07, 2023 11:09 PM
Local residents enjoy an early morning swim along Sanur beach as boats line up to prepare to load passengers to cross to the nearby tourist island of Nusa Penida, on Indonesia’s resort island of Bali on Sunday. Photo: AFP

Local residents enjoy an early morning swim along Sanur beach as boats line up to prepare to load passengers to cross to the nearby tourist island of Nusa Penida, on Indonesia’s resort island of Bali on Sunday. Photo: AFP

The Chinese Consulate General in Denpasar, Indonesia promised to keep the public updated in a timely manner on the mysterious deaths of two Chinese tourists at a luxury hotel in Bali, which has triggered safety concerns over travel to the popular tourist destination among Chinese travelers, with cooperation with the Indonesia side strengthened. 

The two Chinese tourists, a 25-year-old man surnamed Li and a 22-year-old woman surnamed Cheng, were found dead and naked at the five-star Intercontinental Hotel in Jimbaran Bay in Bali on May 1, 2023. 

According to a statement from the consulate general, it attaches great importance to the incident and immediately contacted local police and is following progress in the case. 

The Global Times learned from a staffer of the consulate general on Sunday that it will the keep public updated when the autopsy results on the deceased are released and will provide information on the progress of the investigation.  

Meanwhile, the consulate general has provided necessary and timely assistance to the families of the deceased, who have already arrived in Bali, according to the consulate staffer. 

Chinese Consul General Zhu Xinglong met with Denpasar Police Commissioner Bambang Yugo Pamungkas on Friday to be briefed on the investigation. The two sides exchanged views on strengthening police cooperation and ensuring the safety of Chinese tourists in Bali, according to the statement from the Chinese Consulate General in Denpasar. 

According to the Chinese Consulate General in Denpasar, police said that the Indonesian central and local governments have attached great importance to this case and required the police to speed up the investigation. Denpasar police have formed a special task force to investigate and will maintain close contact with the Chinese Consulate General in Denpasar. The government of Denpasar city also attaches great importance to the safety of Chinese tourists and will continue to take necessary measures to ensure their safety. 

The tragedy has come under media spotlight over the past weekend with more details of the case revealed by media reports. 

Bali police spokesperson Stefanus Satake Bayu reveled on Sunday that local police investigated the scene after the incident and about 15 witnesses including hotel staffers and foreigners familiar with the location of the hotel have been questioned, according to Indonesian media reports.  

So far, the Indonesian investigators have not been able to ascertain the cause of death, whether the two committed suicide or killed each other, but have ruled out the possibility of a murder committed by a third party for the reason of theft since the couple’s personal belongings were intact, according to a report by The Paper. 

According to local media, the preliminary autopsy conducted by forensic experts showed that Li had open wounds on both sides of his neck, both feet and hands, including two long open wounds estimated at 11 to 12 centimeters long on each side of his body. 

Surveillance camera footage from the hotel corridor showed that he crawled out of his room at around 6:32 am on May 1, covered in blood, and struggled for about 20 minutes before finally collapsing in the corridor. The forensic experts said the injuries were caused by sharp objects. 

Cheng was found dead and naked in the bathtub of their hotel room without open wounds but with bruises to her head, arms and lower limbs. A deep bruise on her neck indicated that she was strangled before she died. 

Since she died in a bathtub, a large amount of fluid was found in her stomach. Besides, there was fluid coming out of the her mouth and nose. Toxicology tests have been performed on the fluids to determine whether the deceased had been poisoned, with the results and further instructions on the examination of the two bodies awaited. 

Apart from the autopsy results, the focus of the police investigation will be placed on surveillance camera footage. 

According to the footage, Cheng checked in to hotel room 4223 on the night of April 30 and Li arrived at the hotel and met Cheng in the hotel lobby after midnight before they entered the room together. 

At around 10 minutes to 1 am on May 1, Li left the room and is suspected to have stayed at the door of room 4222 to check something before returning to his own room. 

A hotel employee delivered food around 1:17 am and stayed in the room for a while, and then left. Surveillance footage shows that no one entered or left room 4223 until 6:32 am when Li crawled out of the room, covered in blood. 

The incident has stirred up all sorts of speculation about the nature of the case with many Chinese netizens questioning the loose security measures taken by the hotel and the safety of traveling in Indonesia. 

Friends of the female victim are reportedly doubting the suggestions that the pair’s deaths were suicide or murder-suicide since the couple had been in a relationship they described as “loving” for two to three years.  

Prior to COVID-19, Bali was a popular travel destination for Chinese tourists. According to Statista, 1.36 million Chinese nationals visited the Indonesian island in 2018 and 1.18 million 2019. There were 117,000 visitors in 2020, zero in 2021 and 13,000 in 2022.  

After the incident, governor of Bali I Wayan Koster proposed on May 4 a quota system to impose restrictions on foreign tourists who want to visit the island with the reason to prevent the presence of misbehaving tourists from abroad who offend the local culture in Bali, according to Indonesia Expat.  

The move further aroused antipathy from Chinese netizens who are concerned over the safety of traveling in Bali. Many Chinese tourists complained online that the hotel, which is open after the incident, refused to refund tourists who tried to cancel reservations.