Bali Police Scour Porn Videos to Find Out Where They Were Illegally Shot

“Welcome to our new porn villa,” a screenshot from one of the clips said.
June 7, 2021, 10:37am
Bali rice paddy
Rice terraces in the highlands of West Bali, Indonesia. PHOTO: Arterra / Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Police on famed tourist island Bali are on the hunt for the owner (or owners) of a “porn villa” which was allegedly used by foreigners to shoot adult videos that sparked outrage in a country with tough anti-pornography laws.

Bali is a top destination in Indonesia and was popular among digital nomads as a place to hunker down during the pandemic. But a series of deportations of foreigners who went viral for the wrong reasons led to increased scrutiny of expat life on the island.

In the latest case, social media clips with scantily clad entertainers frolicking at a “porn villa” caught the attention of authorities when online users noticed traditional motifs distinct to predominantly Hindu Bali in the background, according to reports and widely circulated screenshots.

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Muslim-majority Indonesia has tough anti-pornography laws and violators can face years in prison. The videos prompted a frenzy in some Indonesian media outlets over the “sex party” and a search for the property. While no arrests have been made, police also put hotels on notice about any similar activity.

Authorities located the area of the island where the villa supposedly was, and now say they’ve found the property. But in a twist, no one was there.

“[Police] are still investigating the building permit. We’ve visited the viral villa several times, but it was empty,” I Gusti Agung Kerta Suryanegara, chief of a Bali municipal police unit, told VICE World News. 

“We will only take action once we find the villa owner or their representative to avoid acting on assumptions,” he added.

Officials have urged villa and hotel owners to be more vigilant against those who might use local properties as sets for pornographic films. Police are also reportedly keeping a closer eye on foreigners in Bali to prevent similar incidents.

“We are working with relevant stakeholders to educate foreigners on the importance of maintaining public order from the moment they arrive in airports, immigration offices and other places,” Bali’s police commissioner was quoted as saying in the Bali Post. He added that they put up warnings that pornography is a criminal offense in Indonesia and that those who violate the law can be punished.

The scandal is almost guaranteed to fuel debate over the balance between welcoming foreigners during pandemic-strapped times and reining in behavior that flouts local customs and culture. 

Last month, authorities deported a Canadian man from Bali for allegedly organizing an “orgasmic” yoga class. The man was accused of disrespecting Balinese culture after offering “tantric full body orgasm yoga sessions.”

In April, a pair of Instagram influencers were jailed and faced deportation for a painted face mask prank at a local supermarket.