• Wed. Mar 29th, 2023

US influencer living in Bali in hiding after online stalker threatens kidnapping

An American influencer is living in fear on the paradise island of Bali after an alleged online stalker landed in Indonesia and threatened to kidnap her.

Arizona native Alexandra Saper, a travel influencer and self-empowerment coach with more than 96,000 Instagram followers, has shut down her business and gone into hiding, she told the New York Post.

Now she is calling out for help, which police in Indonesia are not providing, she said.

“I don’t experience fear or paranoia. I don’t have anxiety – and suddenly I’m having panic attacks, in terror of this guy watching me, following me, violating me or worse,” Saper said.

“I backpacked through East Africa and visited war zones on my own. This person has impacted me in a way that is foreign to me.”

The cause of her fear, she claims, is Robert James Keating, a 38-year-old former traffic management operative from Horsham, West Sussex, England.

“He started sending me creepy texts about a year ago, so I blocked him from my Instagram,” the 31-year-old said.

“He set up new accounts to stalk me. He found my email address and sent hundreds of messages and videos threatening to kidnap me,” Saper alleged.

The influencer, who has lived in Bali for five years, described the content as “vulgar and sexually explicit”.

“I ignored it until he arrived in Bali,” she said.

The influencer quickly blocked Mr Keating on Instagram and, she said, reported him to the tech giant.

But Mr Keating soon created new accounts and found her email address to continue his one-way conversation, sending her hundreds of emails, Saper said.

On January 29, Mr Keating arrived in Indonesia, but it was no surprise to the young woman.

He had sent her multiple videos and texts, also seen by the Post, showing his flight details and his visa.

He even sent an image of a red suitcase with a person inside, one arm hanging out of the zipper, illustrating his plan for the popular influencer.

When questioned by the Post via Instagram, Mr Keating claimed that Saper had invited him to Bali and then ghosted him.

She denies engaging with him at all. He also sent the Post the same image of the red suitcase and confirmed he had sent it to Saper as well, although he did not directly answer the question “Are you stalking Alexandra Saper?”

“Remember this will play out as a positive for me,” he wrote in reply.

Saper, who has had to put a hold on her travel-influencer business, said on Instagram last week that she has now left Indonesia.

“It is ironic since I work for women’s empowerment – everyone is asking me if I am safe. I am not safe. I was in a hotel and worried that security would leave their post and he could come my door,” Saper, who is a qualified lawyer, said.

“I feel like … I will have a breakdown just thinking about going out.”

Within days of Mr Keating arriving in Bali, Saper posted on a Facebook page devoted to women’s safety in Bali about her experience.

Many members of the platform, she said, mobilised to protect her and uploaded images and locations of Mr Keating around town.

“[Mr Keating] put Insta stories about kidnapping me on his own account, [with] stories about stalking me. It’s all self-incriminating. It’s so public and black and white,” Saper said. “However, no one is doing anything, apart from the vigilante women who photograph him and report sightings.”

Alexandra has reported Mr Keating’s threats to Indonesian police with the support of a high-profile local campaigner, Niluh Djelantik, who fights to protect Balinese culture and all people on the island from badly behaved foreigners.

Since Mr Keating has not physically attacked Saper, police told her that they cannot intervene, she said. Saper claimed that authorities instead sent her for psychological testing to establish proof of fear.

She said on Instagram that she has also reached out to both the US and UK embassies in Indonesia – and authorities.

“The investigation is still ongoing, and that’s all I can say,” Saper said on Instagram last week.

Mr Keating, who claims to be a self-styled “change guru” warned Saper to watch out for him and to get insurance, she said.

“In December it started getting more real. He emailed me a flight confirmation and said that he was coming to find me with the threat of rape and other disturbing sexual threats,” she added.

In another video shot in December, Saper claimed that Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) had supported his application for an Indonesian visa indicating that he required special permission to travel overseas.

“I have moments of feeling very defeated. However, I have said from the beginning that I am not interested in hiding,” she said.

“I have a social influence and so many friends who are well connected. As a trained lawyer, I have resources and despite all this I can’t even feel protected.”

Alexandra said has compassion for Mr Keating but cannot excuse his behaviour.

“I want him off the island, but he needs to be stopped and to get proper treatment for this delusion,” she said.

This article originally appeared on the New York Post and was reproduced with permission

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