Influencers jailed in Bali for fake mask video prank, to be deported as 'soon as possible'

  • 03/05/2021
Influencers jailed in Bali for fake mask video prank, to be deported as 'soon as possible'

Two influencers have been detained in an Indonesian immigration centre after filming themselves wearing painted-on face masks, in deliberate defiance of local mandatory mask laws. 

US-based YouTuber Josh Paler Lin and Russian influencer Leia Se had their passports seized and are awaiting deportation from Bali. 

The pair filmed themselves painting a blue surgical mask on Se and entering a supermarket after she was initially turned away from the store for not complying with mandatory mask wearing.

In the clip, the influencers are seen strolling through a store with Leia wearing some blue paint as a fake mask.

"I can't believe it worked!" Lin can be heard exclaiming.

Police say it was "only proper" to deport the pair for breaking Indonesia's COVID-19 laws. 

Jamaruli Manihuruk, who heads the Bali regional office for the Justice and Human Rights Ministry, said foreigners who don't respect the laws and regulations in Indonesia would face deportation sanctions.

Bali's civil service police unit head Dewa Nyoman Rai Dharmadi said: "It's only proper to sanction them more severely, not just with a fine but also deportation. They are not only violating, but deliberately provoking in public to defy health guidelines."

He said Lin and Se are being held in a detention cell at the immigration office while waiting for their flight.  

The stunt sparked outrage and was condemned by many Indonesians as virus cases and deaths continue to climb in Bali. Since the video went viral, the influencers have both issued an apology.

Lin, who is best-known for his prank videos, said he made the video to entertain people.

"I'm a content creator and it's my job to entertain people. However, I did not realize that what I did could actually bring a lot of negative comments."

The social media influencers later posted a video to instagram, appearing alongside their legal team.