Russian Fugitive Nabbed in Bali After Dramatic Escape

A Russian fugitive whose dramatic sprint out of an Indonesian immigration office was captured on CCTV has been caught again after two weeks on the run, authorities said Wednesday.

Andrey Kovalenko fled the office on Indonesia’s resort island of Bali to avoid deportation, with the surveillance footage showing him keeping pace on foot with a motorcycle as he escaped.

Authorities fanned out across the island in the hunt for Kovalenko, who was nabbed early Wednesday at a villa in tourist hub Kuta along with girlfriend Ekaterina Trubkina, who was wanted for allegedly assisting his escape.

His dash for freedom on Feb. 11 came as officials readied to deport Kovalenko back to Russia on an Interpol warrant.

The 32-year-old had just finished a prison term following a 2019 arrest for selling hashish to tourists in Bali.

The Interpol warrant was linked to a drugs case back in Kovalenko’s home country, said Eko Budianto, head of the immigration division at Bali’s justice and legal agency.

Trubkina, 31, also Russian, could face up to nine months in prison if convicted of assisting Kovalenko’s escape, authorities said.

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 $500,000 from women he met online between 2015 and 2019.

Beam had been hiding in Bali with his girlfriend where he worked as a porn actor-director.

Russian Gravediggers Defy Coronavirus to Throw Speed-Digging Contest

Russian gravediggers broke out their best shovels for the first-ever speed-digging competition in Siberia after organizers postponed the initial contest this summer due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Grave Mayhem 2020” was initially due to take place in Russia’s Far East before organizers made several location and scheduling changes.

Eventually, gravediggers from Tomsk some 3,500 kilometers east of Moscow took shovels into their own hands and made the contest come to life.

“The goal is primarily to rate the diggers, improve service and quality,” Alexander Sharabayev, who heads the Tomsk region’s integrated emergency funeral services dispatch, told the local vtomske.ru news website.

“We want to understand how much time they spend on work,” Sharabayev said.

Five teams from across the region descended upon a local cemetery over the weekend to dig holes 2 meters long, 0.8 meters wide and 1.6 meters deep, with judges rating their performances.

The winner, a Tomsk hometown kid, dug his grave in 52 minutes while the loser clocked in at 68 minutes.

“We’ll be definitely holding new and more large-scale contests,” Sharabayev told vtomske.ru.

The original speed-digging contest organizers, meanwhile, still have their cat meme-inspired invitational poster and another competition penciled in for next May in Novosibirsk.

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