The Great Escape

12 Year-Old Australian Boy Runs Away to Bali
Australian Police, immigration and airline officials are having a hard look at their policies and procedures after widely reported news in the international press that a 12-year-old Australian boy became angry, took his mother’s credit card, and went on a solo four-day holiday to Bali

The young man from Sydney reportedly had an argument with his mother before taking a low-cost domestic flight to Perth, Western Australia before catching an international flight to Bali.

Channel Nine Australia quoted the boy’s mother, Emma, saying, “He just doesn't like the word 'no,' and that's what I got, a kid in Indonesia. “ Calling for tighter control on air travel involving children, Emma continued: “It's too easy, it's way too easy. There's a problem in our system."

Her son had visited Bali on holiday and had obviously enjoyed the experience, choosing to return again independently with his mother paying the tab. Previously, the boy had tried to book a flight to Bali, but the airline refused the booking without a written letter of permission from his mother. Seeking official help from the Government, Emma asked the Australian Police authorities to flag the boy’s passport to prevent him from leaving the country.

Managing to eventually book a flight, the young man spent four days in Bali where he checked into a Kuta hotel, illegally hired and operated a motorcycle, drank beers with “friends,” and uploaded pictures of himself in the hotel pool on the Internet.

In all, the boy’s holiday in Bali cost his family more than AUS$8,000.

When a friend traced the boy’s location via a geo-tag on his uploaded video, the Indonesia police were notified on the child's location, and managed to take the 12-year-old into custody on March 18, 2018.

One day later the parent’s flew to Bali to bring the boy back to Sydney.

Australian Federal Police (AFP) issued a statement saying they had no authority to prevent international travel by an Australian if no actual crime was involved. Australian police said: "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."

Jetstar has reportedly changed its procedures relating to minor children traveling without their parents on one of their flights. Current rules do not allow children less than 5 years of age to travel alone; children between 5-years and 11 must be booked on a special unaccompanied minor ticket; and children 12-15 can only travel with a permission slip from their parent or guardian.

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