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American Woman Summoned for Tweeting How to Get into Indonesia during Covid


Kristen Gray posts a photo of herself posing near a Hindu temple in Bali. (Twitter)

JAKARTA – Immigration officials in Bali on Tuesday summoned American citizen Kristen Gray who has been living in the resort island for more than a year for allegedly misusing her visa.

The move came after a thread from her Twitter account went viral as she detailed how she and her girl friend could enjoy an “elevated lifestyle at a much lower cost of living” during their stay and promoted her e-book titled “Our Bali Life is Yours”.

“It’s a guide breaking down how we did it and how you can do it too,” Gray wrote in the now-deleted tweet.

“We include direct links to our visa agents and how to go about getting Indonesia during COVID,” the 16 January tweet reads.

The immigration office said Gray was summoned for a questioning in Bali and she could face sanctions if found guilty of visa violation.

“That remains to be seen, but [visa]  offenses by a foreign national could risk deportation or criminal charges,” Immigration Office spokesman Arvin Gumilang said in Jakarta.

He asserted that the ban on international visitors is still valid until January 25.

The government has imposed restrictions on international arrivals from certain countries since April last year and completely shut down the country last month amid reports on new strain of coronavirus.

Arvin said Gray is currently living in Karangasem District and local authorities have collected data about her passport and stay permit.

In the Twitter thread, Gray wrote that she and her girl friend booked one-way flights to Bali in December 2019 with an initial plan of staying for six months to “stack some bread and elevate our lifestyle.”

“I was broke, struggling to find work the entire year of 2019 and I wanted to take a stab at entrepreneurship,” she wrote.

According to her tweet, she immediately found an elevated lifestyle in the island, comparing two photographs of her apartment room in Los Angeles and of her current residence in Bali.

“I was paying $1,300 for my LA studio. Now I have a treehouse for $400. Dec. 2019 on the left… Jan 2021 on the right,” she said of the photos.

The screenshot of a now-deleted tweet from Kristen Gray.

“In March, when the pandemic hit and our 6-month plan went out the window, we decided to stay in Bali to “wait it out” and we’ve been here ever since,” she wrote.

Gray, who runs a graphic design business, also said 2020 was “the best year” for her even during the quarantine period, as she was able to focus on her works “without the dictation of the American news or political drama”.

Gray mentioned her version of major benefits of moving to Bali, which include “safety, low cost of living, luxury lifestyle, queer friendly and black in Bali community”. She also posted a photo of black community in the island.

“There’s a whole community of black folks on the island. This was taken after the murder of George Floyd. We met up to be in community and love on each other,” she wrote.

Her e-book is priced at $30.


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