A surf trip gone wrong has turned into a scary, cautionary tale in recent weeks. Twenty-three-year-old surfer Bodhi Mani Risby-Jones from Queensland is being detained on Simeulue Island off the west coast of Sumatra after what’s been described by locals as a “drunken nude rampage” in late April.
“According to people present at the scene, [he] went out of his room completely naked, yelling and causing a ruckus,” Simeulue Police Chief AKBP Jatmiko, told CNN. [He is] subject to Article 351 paragraphs 1 and 2 of the law…which carries a maximum imprisonment of five years.”
He’s been accused of attacking a security guard of the resort he was staying at, local residents, and a fisherman who required 50 stitches before a mob of locals arrested him. Now he faces the possible five years in jail and even flogging for breaking Sharia law in Aceh, the ultra-conservative province where drinking alcohol is banned. Under Sharia law, Risby-Jones faces over two years in prison and 40 lashes if found guilty and under provincial law, he could serve the potential five-year sentence.
According to police, he has a choice of which law he prefers to be prosecuted under, but all of this could be wiped away and Risby-Jones allowed to go home to Australia without more jail time or a trial if his family can come to a “financial settlement” with the local man whose injury required stitches. The Risby-Jones family’s lawyer says that the financial settlement request is a sum of $61,000. On top of all of this, the local residents were so outraged by the ordeal that they reportedly tried to burn down the Moon Beach Resort Risby-Jones was staying at, and according to some reports, a goat would be slaughtered in order to “restore peace to the island.”
The whole story took another turn when police held a press conference with Risby-Jones wearing a black balaclava and orange jumpsuit. He gave an on-camera apology while handcuffed and police gave more details of the possible punishments, and even presented the half bottle of Absolut vodka he’s accused of drinking.
All this after what Risby-Jones says it just was one shot of vodka.
“We were at the pool and we had a duty-free bottle of vodka. I only had one shot, just one shot.”
“And then I was surfing a lot the day before, so I had like sunstroke, not enough drinking water. So it was a lot of things,” adding that in his run-in with the angry mob, “I got hit a lot of times on the ground, people kicked my head, made me forget.”
In the meantime, whether the whole incident is settled through the proposed financial settlement, or a trial, is yet to be seen. Local police can reportedly detain Risby-Jones for a total of 20 days while they investigate further.