If there are two things that make a good story, they’re drugs and third-world prisons. This story has both. An Australian man just escaped from a prison in Bali by digging a 40-foot tunnel into a water pipe and disappearing into the night. Now he’s on the lam from officials.
Back in 2016, Shaun Edward Davidson fled to Bali on the day he was supposed to face drug charges in Australia. He arrived in Bali on a one-month tourist visa, then never left. Months later, Indonesian officials were alerted by the Rabasta Hotel in Kuta that they might have a tourist who overstayed his month. When authorities arrived, they took one look at his passport and called bullshit. As it turned out, he was using someone else’s passport, and there was almost no resemblance. Davidson tried to convince them that the photo was taken when he was “chubby”, but they weren’t buying it. “The photo on the passport is different from his face,” Muhammad Sholeh from Ngurah Rai Immigration Office told The Australian. “When we asked him, he said the photo was taken when he was still chubby.”
He did, however, have an excuse. “I lost my passport shortly after coming to Indonesia,” he explained. “When I was in a hotel, I found that passport. I needed somewhere to stay–it’s pretty hard to live on the streets in another country like this–and the only way I could book another room was to have a passport. That’s the only reason I used it, and that’s the only time I used it.”
Davidson was sentenced to a year in Kerobokan prison, which, considering that the maximum he could have been incarcerated for was seven years, is a pretty light sentence. With three months left, however, he escaped. Davidson, along with Bulgarian Dimitar Nikolov, Indian Sayed Mohammed Said, and Malaysian Tee Koko King bin Tee Kim Sai, probably spent about a week digging their tunnel, then waited for the right time to use it.
“It [Kerobokan jail] was built for 300 prisoners, there are 1200 there,” Davidson said to The Sydney Morning Herald in September of 2016. “The first couple of weeks you get there, there are 20 other people here in the cell the size of this area here,” he said, pointing at his tiny holding cell in Denpasar. “No beds, no nothing, you don’t get given anything. Just like concrete floors. In the corner, they have got a bit blocked off where there is a hole in the ground. That’s pretty much the toilet and the shower.”
Authorities have no idea where the group might be, but they think it’s unlikely that they managed to get off Bali.