Wed, Apr 28, 2010
Indonesia rounds up 'beach boys' over gigolo film

DENPASAR, Indonesia - Indonesia has detained 28 "beach boys" accused of selling sex to female tourists on the island of Bali after a documentary on the resort's "gigolos" hit the Internet, an official said.

"We've rounded up 28 men we suspect might be gigolos. They're young, fit-looking and tanned, mostly surfer beach boys," I Gusti Ngurah Tresna, the chief of security on Bali's main Kuta beach, told AFP.

"We're still questioning them. If we have good reason to suspect they may be involved in shady activities we'll hand them over to the police," he said, adding that the raids were ongoing.

"We're always on the beach so we can guess which beach boy may be taking advantage of foreign women."

The arrests followed the release of a documentary, "Cowboys in Paradise", by Singapore-based writer and director Amit Virmani at a film festival in South Korea last Wednesday.

Segments of the film, which contains candid interviews with "beach boys" and the foreign women who fall for them, have gone viral on the Internet after becoming available on YouTube.

Tresna said the documentary ran counter to the authorities' preferred image of Bali as a world-class destination.

"All this while we've been selling our beautiful waves, sunsets, turtles, culture and nature conservation, and suddenly now we're seen to be selling gigolos? Such films are really harmful to our image," he said.

The official could not explain what charges the "beach boys" could face and admitted it would be hard to prove they were selling sex.

"We apprehended some suspects some time back but we let them off with a stern warning," he said.

"They will approach foreign female tourists, especially Japanese, on the beach, befriend them and the women will pay for their company and food during their stay here. Sex may be involved.

"It's like prostitution which is hard to prove because the foreign women may be willing partners, too."

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