A 12-year-old boy from the Australian city of Sydney stole his parents’ credit card, tricked his grandmother into giving him his passport, and flew to Bali on his own after a family argument.
The boy, given the pseudonym “Drew” by Australian TV news show A Current Affair, was told he couldn’t go to Bali by his mother but managed to book himself flights (researching an airline that allowed 12-year-olds to fly unaccompanied) and a hotel room, and to depart the country unimpeded.
Telling his family he was going to school, he rode his scooter to his local train station, from where he travelled to the airport and, using a self-service check-in terminal, boarded a flight on budget airline Jetstar to the Western Australian city of Perth, then another to Indonesia.
He was only quizzed once, at Perth airport, when staff asked him for identification to prove he was over 12. The boy said he was told by airline staff this time that he did not need permission from his parents to board the flights.
“They just asked for my student ID and passport to prove that I’m over 12 and that I’m in secondary school,” he told A Current Affair. “It was great because I wanted to go on an adventure.”
In Bali, he checked in to the All Seasons hotel, telling staff he was waiting for his sister to arrive.
He spent four days in Bali, where he hired a scooter and drank beer before a friend alerted his mother to a geotagged video of himself playing in a swimming pool.
The holiday cost his parents A$8,000 (HK$47,920), according to A Current Affair.
After his school reported he was absent, his family scrambled to find out where he was. The Australian Federal Police said they were first notified that the boy might try to leave the country on March 8, before being told he might be in Bali on March 17.
The boy was found by Indonesian police the following day. His parents then flew to Bali to take him home.
The federal police said an alert to prevent international travel had not been placed on the boy, and it did not have the power to cancel or request the cancellation of a passport if there were no suspicions of crimes committed.
His mother, Emma, said “Drew” doesn’t like hearing the word “no”.
“Shocked, disgusted, there’s no emotion to feel what we felt when we found he left overseas,” she told the news show.