UAE Box­ing Coach Scammed in Jakarta

The Asian Games were a great suc­cess, marred only by a few scan­dals and con­tro­ver­sies, in­clud­ing a Pales­tinian ex­pa­tri­ate scam­ming a vis­it­ing box­ing coach in a nightlife area.

Indonesia Expat - - CONTENT - BY KEN­NETH YE­UNG

The re­cent Asian Games hosted by Jakarta and Palem­bang ex­ceeded all ex­pec­ta­tions of suc­cess, de­spite some ini­tial prob­lems with tick­et­ing and a few thefts. The spirit of friend­ship, rather than un­pleas­ant trib­al­ism, be­tween na­tions was glo­ri­ous to be­hold. For ex­am­ple, on the fi­nal day of games at the Rugby Sevens, ri­val ath­letes min­gled hap­pily and posed for pho­tos with spec­ta­tors. Korean team an­a­lysts set a great ex­am­ple to the host na­tion by pick­ing up and bin­ning all of their rub­bish. The Afghan team shared their na­tional bread and their meals. In­evitably, there were some mi­nor in­ci­dents that blem­ished the Asian Games. Such as the scam­ming of the box­ing coach of the United Arab Emi­rates, an Egyp­tian na­tional named Muhamed Ibrahim Mawad. On the night of Au­gust 23, he had gone to Ta­man Lokasari in West Jakarta for a meal and to buy a charger for his mo­bile phone. Lokasari, lo­cated along­side Jalan Mangga Be­sar, is known for its mo­bile phone stores and night­clubs. At about 8.30pm, at the counter of a mo­bile phone store, he was be­friended by a Pales­tinian ex­pa­tri­ate, who claimed to be a Jor­da­nian. Po­lice iden­ti­fied the man only by his ini­tials as MMH. MMH of­fered to show Muhamed some of the local nightlife at­trac­tions. Muhamed was re­luc­tant, as he wanted to charge his phone’s bat­tery. MMH urged him to leave the phone, as well as his team jacket and bag at the phone shop, while they went out to see some sights. Muhamed agreed to the plan. Ac­cord­ing to po­lice, they en­tered a taxi and went to the Malio night­club, but Muhamed de­clined to en­ter the premises. Next, they went to Clas­sic Ho­tel in Pasar Baru, and the Egyp­tian again de­clined to en­ter. MMH then re­port­edly asked Muhamed for some money to pay for the taxi. Muhamed, ap­par­ently lack­ing suf­fi­cient local cur­rency, took US$100 to a nearby money changer and ex­changed it for ru­piah. When he came back to the taxi, MMH had gone. Un­able to com­mu­ni­cate with the taxi driver, Muhamed was in a dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion. Even­tu­ally, he man­aged to re­turn to Lokasari. He went back to the phone shop, only to be in­formed “his friend” had been there ear­lier and col­lected Muhamed’s phone, jacket and bag con­tain­ing US$300. Muhamed re­ported the theft to the local po­lice precinct at Ta­man Sari. Po­lice ex­am­ined some CCTV footage. One week later, at about 11pm on Au­gust 30, they ar­rested the Pales­tinian at Lokasari and re­cov­ered the stolen items. Muhamed has since left In­done­sia, so the case is now be­ing han­dled by po­lice, Im­mi­gra­tion and the UAE Em­bassy. MMH faces up to four years in jail if charged with fraud and theft. Po­lice said the Pales­tinian man had ar­rived in In­done­sia in 2014 and worked as an ac­tivist in the so­cial sec­tor. They said he learned to speak In­done­sian and of­ten com­mit­ted crimes, in­clud­ing ex­tor­tion in­volv­ing sharp weapons. He was once in­car­cer­ated at Jakarta’s Salemba jail for crimes against In­done­sians.


At the open­ing cer­e­mony of the Asian Games, the cheers were loud­est for the 25-mem­ber Pales­tinian team, which un­for­tu­nately failed to win any medals. One Pales­tinian who ex­celled at the Asian Games was Emad Ala­mad. He’s not an ath­lete or a coach. In­stead, he ran a food out­let called Palestina Street Food in­side the culi­nary zone at Bung Karno Sta­dium. He has lived in In­done­sia for four years and has been sell­ing food here for the past two years. Hav­ing an In­done­sian wife made it eas­ier for him to get per­mis­sion to op­er­ate at the Asian Games. His stall was a big hit with In­done­sians, who are sym­pa­thetic to the plight of the Pales­tini­ans fac­ing ag­gres­sion from Is­rael. He was able to sell about 300 ke­babs a day at the Asian Games. A chicken ke­bab sold for Rp40,000, while a beef or mixed ke­bab was Rp45,000. Those are higher than his usual prices, but he said cost of rent­ing a booth dur­ing the Games was very ex­pen­sive. Pales­tine did well in the men’s foot­ball, com­ing sec­ond in its group stage with wins over Laos and In­done­sia, and draws with Chi­nese Taipei and Hong Kong; only to be knocked out by Syria in the elim­i­na­tion stage. Pales­tine did not field a team for women’s foot­ball or any other women’s events.


One of the most prom­i­nent Pales­tini­ans in cy­berspace is travel vlog­ger Nu­seir Yassin, who posts one-minute travel videos each day to his Face­book page Nas Daily. He was ed­u­cated at Har­vard and holds an Is­raeli pass­port. Many In­done­sians are sur­prised to learn that about 20 per­cent of Is­raelis are Arabs. The in­fec­tiously pos­i­tive and smil­ing Yassin re­cently trav­elled to Sin­ga­pore to go through the con­vo­luted process of ap­ply­ing for a visa to In­done­sia, only to be re­jected by In­done­sian Im­mi­gra­tion. This meant he had an ex­tended stay in Sin­ga­pore, where his slick, in­for­ma­tive videos about the is­land state went vi­ral, rack­ing up mil­lions of views. Yassin on Au­gust 31 posted on Face­book a spe­cial mes­sage to In­done­sia, lament­ing the re­jec­tion of his visa ap­pli­ca­tion. “For a Pales­tinian-Is­raeli like me, it's not easy. You have to go through a spe­cial visa process and a ton of pa­per to ap­ply. I fol­lowed the whole process, step by step. Ex­actly as the guide­lines sug­gested. Only to hear ear­lier to­day that my ap­pli­ca­tion was re­jected. I don't know why. But I am guess­ing it has some­thing to do with my Is­raeli pass­port. Even if I am a Pales­tinian Mus­lim. I still was told that I'm not al­lowed to en­ter. Let this post be the answer to the nice peo­ple who ask me to come to In­done­sia. I se­ri­ously hon­estly wanted to. I wanted to show the world the beauty of In­done­sia in the most apo­lit­i­cal, pure way pos­si­ble. But sadly that won't be pos­si­ble on Nas Daily. At least not with the cur­rent state of things. This is not good­bye. This is see you later. I am sure one day we will all meet.” In­done­sian Im­mi­gra­tion spokesman Agung Sam­purno con­firmed Yassin’s visa ap­pli­ca­tion was re­jected but de­nied the de­ci­sion was be­cause of his Is­raeli pass­port. He said it was merely an ad­min­is­tra­tive process and that Yassin is wel­come to re-ap­ply for en­try. When play­ing the anti-Is­rael card, In­done­sia would be wise to re­mem­ber that plenty of Is­raeli pass­port hold­ers are Pales­tinian Mus­lims. Keep­ing out scam­mers and mug­gers would be bet­ter than deny­ing en­try to in­spi­ra­tional, apo­lit­i­cal youths. The friendly spirit of the Asian Games should be main­tained, es­pe­cially if In­done­sia wants to host the Olympics.

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