DENPASAR, Indonesia: Indonesian police are on the hunt in Bali for a Russian fugitive wanted by Interpol after he escaped from custody while waiting to be deported from the resort island, authorities said on Monday (Feb 15).
CCTV footage released by the authorities showed Andrei Kovalenka sneaking out of the immigration office in Denpasar detention centre on Thursday while officials were busy finishing his transfer paperwork, and running outside.
Police said Kovalenka was wanted by Interpol but declined to specify what crime he committed overseas.
“We are still investigating this case and we have deployed all our resources” to search for him, Bali police’s head of general crimes, Djuhandani Rahardjo Puro told a press conference on Monday.
Immigration officials immediately alerted the police and the Russian embassy to search for Kovalenka, who has also used Andrew Ayer as a name.
The Russian Embassy, contacted by AFP, declined to comment on the case.
The 32-year-old Russian was arrested in a cafe in the popular tourist hub Kuta in 2019 for selling hashish to fellow tourists. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison and was released on Feb 3.
On his way out of Kerobokan prison he was handed over to immigration officials while waiting to be deported.
Police said Kovalenko escaped after he received a visit from a Russian female friend identified as Ekaterina Trubkina, now also wanted for allegedly assisting him.
Indonesian authorities have previously caught international fugitives wanted by Interpol who sought to hide in Bali.
In July last year, Bali police arrested Marcus Beam, an American fugitive accused of scamming US$500,000 from women he met online between 2015 to 2019.
The American had been hiding in Bali with his girlfriend where he worked as a porn actor-director.