Bodhi Mani Risby-Jones says he was not himself and felt “almost possessed” during an alleged drunken naked rampage that led to his arrest on an Indonesian island.
The 23-year-old Australian faces up to five years in jail if convicted over the alleged incident on Thursday on Simeulue, within the conservative Aceh province off the coast of Sumatra.
Risby-Jones allegedly emerged without any clothes from Moon Beach Resort and proceeded to chase and strike people on the main village road, according to the Aceh media outlet Bithe.
Shortly before 1am the Noosa man abused a fisherman from the village of Lantik, who suffered serious injuries requiring more than 50 stitches on his heel as well as fractures, Indonesian police told the publication in a written statement.
Supt Jamitko also alleged that Risby-Jones hit a security guard before he left his resort.
“He was enraged. He caused a scene. He hit a security guard and walked out of the resort and ran amok every motorbike rider he encountered,” Jamitko said.
Jamitko said the fisherman’s injuries were a result of Risby-Jones striking him as he passed by on his motorbike, and throwing the motorcycle on to him after he fell into the gutter, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
Angered by the tourist’s alleged behaviour, locals tried to set the resort itself ablaze, the police chief said.
“Knowing it, the people got angry and almost put the resort on fire. Luckily, local police and the village head managed to calm down the mob.”
Appearing under police guard before local media, Risby-Jones said: “I feel like not myself, like almost possessed.
“It was not a good feeling. I wasn’t myself. Normally I’m very nice guy.”
The family of Risby-Jones also released a statement on his behalf Saturday, saying he is “now fully aware of his behaviour” and disturbed by his actions, which he takes “full responsibility” for.
“He is extremely remorseful and apologetic and acknowledges the pain he has caused the victim. He is embarrassed and ashamed of his behaviour,” the statement said.
“Bodhi would also like to apologise to the Australian people for embarrassing them and is deeply ashamed of the trauma he has inflicted on his family.”
Risby-Jones said he only had one small shot of vodka prior to the incident but had been suffering from sunstroke from surfing the day prior, and maintained that he was wearing underwear during the incident, the ABC reported.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said: “The Australian embassy in Jakarta is providing consular assistance to an Australian man detained in Indonesia.”
Tim Lindsey, a professor in Indonesian law at the University of Melbourne, said Aceh province is considered the most morally conservative province of Indonesia and is “unique” because it is the only province where Islamic sharia law can be applied as an independent source of law, operating in parallel with the secular national criminal code..
However, Aceh is also a surfing destination and “the lifestyle that goes with it is always going to be at odds with a conservative Islamic morally conservative province like Aceh”, Lindsey said.
Risby-Jones would be charged under the criminal code, likely under article 351 for maltreatment resulting in physical injury, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in jail if the injury is considered serious, Lindsey said.
Whether the offending person had reached a reconciliation, often a financial compensation, with the family of the person injured “makes a great deal of difference” in criminal sentencing, Lindsey said.
However, if sharia law is applied, punishment may include caning.
Risby-Jones could also be charged for drinking alcohol, which is banned under sharia law.
The report the motorcycle rider’s wife submitted to police was about violence and not alcohol use – however, police have not ruled out investigating the alcohol aspect, meaning Islamic law could still be applied, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
“Authorities sometimes turn a bit of a blind eye to foreigners smuggling in a bit of alcohol to drink, but it’s still an offence,” Lindsey said.
The incident comes as another Indonesian island cracks down on problem tourists. Tensions between foreign visitors and locals in Bali have also reached a boiling point after incidents that include an influencer visiting a sacred site naked and dangerous motorcycle riding.