Private messages between the family and friends of a Melbourne nightclub promoter jailed in Bali reveal what life is like inside Kerobokan prison.
William Cabantog was arrested earlier this month during raids of homes and nightclubs in the resort village of Canggu, along with his co-accused David Van Iersel, 38, and charged with cocaine possession – which carries a sentence of up to 12 years.
Messages sent on a Facebook chat group titled ‘Will’s Fundraiser’ ask those close to the promoter to donate into a bank account ‘to help fund [Cabantog’s] upcoming hurdles’.
In the chat thread, family and friends discussed what life was really like for Cabantog, who they say will be able to drink alcohol when he is moved out of police cells and can communicate with them via a phone.
Friends expect him to enjoy his time in Bali’s notorious Kerobokan prison, with one person claiming inmates drink and play tennis at the complex.
William Cabantog (pictured left with best friend Nyssa Large) was arrested in Bali earlier this month and charged with cocaine possession – which carries a maximum 12-year prison sentence in Indonesia
His friends and family have launched a fundraising group to help pay for his medical costs and legal defence (pictured)
One member of the group said Cabantog will be able to access alcohol while behind bars, a fact another friend said was ‘good to know’
One friend told the group it was ‘good to know’ the inmate would be able to have alcohol brought in, and another revealed he ‘is as comfortable as can be expected and being looked after with supplies’.
Family members appear more concerned, with Cabantog’s parents asking the group to ‘pray for our son’.
Cabantog will be held in police cells at Denpasar for up to two months while an investigation into their alleged crimes is conducted, and then will move to Bali’s notorious Kerobokan prison.
The group appeared almost relieved to know their friend will be headed to the jail, which has housed the Bali Nine, Schapelle Corby and Shaun Davidson, who famously escaped in 2017.
Cabantog will remain in police cells for up to 60 days until the investigation is complete, and will then be transferred to Kerobokan
KEROBOKAN’S MOST NOTORIOUS AUSTRALIAN PRISONERS
Corby served nine years inside Kerobokan after smuggling cannabis into Indonesia in a boogie board case.
She developed a reputation for helping inmates make jewellery, and had applied to run a beauty school inside the jail.
Corby was also hospitalised multiple times for depression she suffered behind bars.
THE BALI NINE
The Bali Nine were a group of nine Australians convicted of trying to smuggle 8.3 kilograms of heroin out of Indonesia in 2005.
Ringleaders Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran were sentenced to death and executed on 29 April 2015.
Si Yi Chen, Michael Czugaj, Tan Duc Thanh Nguyen, Matthew Norman, Scott Rush, and Martin Stephens were sentenced to life imprisonment.
Renae Lawrence was sentenced to 20 years in prison, and was released earlier this year.
Davidson was sentenced to a year at Kerobokan for passport fraud, but famously escaped with just three months on his sentence.
He and three others tunneled out of the prison in 2017, and he remains on the run.
Davidson used social media to taunt police, sharing pictures of himself and claiming to be in bars, beaches and hotels all over the world.
Friends of the Melbourne promoter threw around ideas of how to best raise money for their incarcerated friend, while others shared stories of asking friends to help, but getting no response
Details of a bank account set up for donations were shared frequently with the group, especially on days where bills were due. Cabantog’s friends were able to raise enough for his first payment of legal fees, but there is little way to know how expensive his imprisonment will be
One member of the group claimed another of their friends didn’t want to leave after serving a sentence there.
‘I know someone who served time in there for possession and he actually loved it and didn’t want to leave lol,’ they wrote.
‘He had his own cell with an ensuite and he decked it out how he wanted it lol. They hold tennis tournaments and everything.’
A second call-out for donations was made on Monday, the ‘money day’ for lawyers and doctors working on the Melbourne man’s case.
‘Anything anyone could spare would make a massive difference today in where Will will end up,’ they wrote.
‘If anyone could jump on and do their donations now, that will help so much.’
Call outs are being made on the group for donations on ‘money day’, when Cabantog must pay his lawyers and doctors
Cabantog and his co-accused, David Van Iersel (centre) were arrested at a nightclub and have been charged with cocaine possession
Friends say Cabantog is ‘as comfortable as can be expected’ and has access to a phone
More money will likely need to be raised to have Cabantog’s belongings released from the guesthouse he was staying in at the time of his arrest, with owners refusing to release his belongings until his bill is paid.
While Cabantog’s friends and family are standing behind the man, the group spent a great deal of time discussing the pros and cons of making the fundraiser public – noting the 35-year-old wanted to make a video to send to the media to ‘get his point across’.
One friend said they were not anticipating much support for Cabantog, noting they’d called around venues who had employed him in the past to ask for support and been met with silence.
Cabantog faces a maximum of 12 years prison if he is found guilty