A 12-year old Australian boy managed to fly to Bali by himself, using his parents credit card and after retrieving his passport from the grandmother has now prompted a police investigation in Australia.
The boy who apparently has a strong affinity for Bali Island (no surprise there) has previously tried to travel there on his own but has always been caught by airport agents who asked for a parental permission letter, not so this time.
After an argument with his mom the 12 year old decided enough is enough and it’s time for a bit of recreation in Bali. After stealing his mothers credit card he convinced his grandma to hand his a passport and then headed to the airport where he purchased a ticket on an automated kiosk and off he was to the tropical island without ever being questioned by Jetstar staff or Australian Federal Police (AFP).
You can access more about this on SBS News Australia (access here).
Australian police were Tuesday investigating how a 12-year-old boy managed to fly alone to the Indonesian island of Bali and spend four days at a resort using his parents’ credit card.
The boy ran away from his Sydney home after a row with his mother, flying first to the Western Australian city of Perth on budget airline Jetstar and then on to Bali, according to commercial broadcaster Channel Nine. …
The family had previously visited Bali on holiday and Emma said her son had already tried to book flights there on his own but had been knocked back by airlines because he did not have a letter from her.
“We screamed, we begged for help (from Australian authorities) for weeks on end,” Emma added. “When the first attempt to Indonesia took place, we were told his passport was going to be flagged.”
The boy, who “wanted to go on an adventure”, said he was told by airline staff this time that he did not need permission from his parents to board the flights.
He spent four days in Bali, where he said he checked into a hotel, hired a scooter and drank beer before a friend alerted his mother to a geotagged video of himself playing in a swimming pool.
The holiday cost his parents Aus$8,000, according to Channel Nine.
The federal police said an alert to prevent international travel had not been placed on the boy, and it did not have the power to cancel or request the cancellation of a passport if there were no suspicions of crimes committed.
“The AFP will work with partner agencies to review the circumstances of this matter and current operating procedures, to ensure this type of incident does not occur again,” an AFP spokeswoman said in a statement.
The family obviously has problems in having their son under control and the mother should have taken secure possession of his passport if this was such a concern. Worst case lock it in a bank safe deposit box.
However there are other underlying issues such as the airline allowing the boy to check in by himself without a letter of Authorization from the parents together with their passport copy. Even though you could probably come up with a convincing lie about that or could circumvent such a check somehow the border patrol should have definitely been on their toes.
The fact that a 12 year old is able to pass immigration of two different countries (Australia and Indonesia) is not only questionable but negligent and dangerous. Every day there are stories of human trafficking and abductions in the news and then something like this. Totally unacceptable. A properly trained border officer would certainly spot a faked document or would try to contact the parents to verify in such a case.
Checkin in at a hotel by saying the parents or family arrives later is not too far off from whats happening every day, especially at an expensive hotel. I can imagine that would work.
There should definitely be more stringent controls in unaccompanied minors traveling considering how easy it is for predators of sorts to lure children into dangerous situations and it wouldn’t be the first time that such a case ends tragic. This case had multiple elements of negligence from the parents over the airline (Jetstar) to the authorities.
I try to come to grip with the $8000 expenses for this little adventure. Flying from Australia to Bali on Jetstar is cheap so either he checked into a real luxury hotel in Bali or god knows what happened to the money. In any case Jetstar should quickly and voluntarily refund all expenses related to this trip. They can be happy if they won’t get sued.