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Citizens Arrest!

Member of Bali Water Police Arrested on Suspicion of Smuggling 22 Protected Turtles

(12/30/2012) The image of the police in Bali suffered another blow with the arrest of a member of the Water Police on Thursday night, December 27, 2012. Angry local citizens on Pandawa Beach, South Kuta, apprehended Mario Pareira who they suspect was involved in the smuggling of 22 protected green turtles into Bali.

The turtles have been removed to the Bali Conservation Center (BKSDA) while the policeman is now at  headquarters undergoing questioning.

A member of the Kutuh Village association, Wayan Mardina, precipitated the arrest. Mardina was checking a local CCTV camera when he saw a man on a motorbike traveling up and down the beach. When approached by the villager, the man on the motorbike identified himself as a member of the Water Police. Moreover, Mario Pareira told Mardina that he was investigating a case of turtle smuggling.

Suspicious of the explanation given by the officer, Mardina escorted the policeman back to meet head of the Kutuh village, Nyoman Mesir, and a local community enforcement officer.

After questioning, Pareira was eventually allowed to go on his way.

Wayan Mardiana, however, remained unsatisfied with the story offered by the policeman and continued to keep the stretch of beach under surveillance. As a result, he discovered 22 green turtles hidden on the eastern corner of the beach. Local villagers were shocked at the discovery and moved the turtles to the village hall for safekeeping.

Several hours later, Mario Pareira returned to the scene with an Isuzu Van driven by a freelance driver. Pursued by angry villagers, he tried to flee but the gate to the beach had been closed by members of the village security team (pacalang).

After his detention by local citizens, Pariera was handed to the local police precinct that later sent the man to police headquarters in Denpasar.

Villagers report that earlier in the day they saw two small boats landed at Pandawa Beach and off-load the turtles. Suspicions are now focused on Pariera, who is believed to have smuggled the turtles.