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Coronavirus face mask prank on YouTube ends with Russian influencer deported from Bali

  • May 06, 2021

A Russian influencer has been deported from Bali after posting a video of herself defying mandatory mask-wearing with some imaginative makeup.

The video, posted online last month, shows Leia Se and YouTuber Josh Paler Lin being refused entry to a Bali supermarket because she doesn’t have a mask on.

They return to their car, where they paint a blue surgical mask on her face before walking past the supermarket security guards and wandering around the store. 

“Did you notice, like, no-one’s actually looking at you?” Mr Lin can be heard saying in the video.

“I can’t believe it worked!” 

But the video quickly went viral and was seen by Bali authorities, who have struggled for months to curb the spread of COVID-19 so the resort island can reopen to foreign tourists.

They tracked the pair down, interrogated them and threw the Russian woman in detention. 

Usually, first-time violators of Bali’s mask-wearing rule face fines of $89 for foreigners and deportation after a second offence. 

Authorities claimed that Leia Se had filmed three videos in which she violated local COVID-19 protocols this year. (

Supplied: YouTube

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But police told the court they should be kicked off the island immediately.

“We won’t tolerate anyone who violates the health protocols to keep Bali safe,” the island’s Governor, Wayan Koster, said. 

Couple apologises on Instagram

Josh Paler Lin, whose YouTube channel specialises in prank videos and boasts 3.4 million subscribers, avoided deportation because he was wearing a mask at the supermarket. 

But Ms Se, who has more than 25,000 followers on Instagram, was sent back to Russia on May 5. 

According to Governor Koster, it was one of three prank posts that she had created this year that violated health protocols.

Before they appeared in court, the couple apologised in a video posted to Mr Lin’s Instagram account. 

Russian influencer Leia Se apologised for the video, but was deported from Bali on May 5. 

“However, I did not realise that what I did could actually bring a lot of negative comments.” 

Ms Lei is not the first foreign influencer to be deported by Balinese authorities this year. 

In December 2020, Russian Sergei Kosenko, who has more than 4.8 million followers on Instagram, posted a video of himself driving a motorcycle with a female passenger on the back off a pier into the sea. 

The video caught the attention of Balinese authorities, who kept an eye on his social media accounts.

In January, he then posted videos of a party he held for 50 people at a luxury Bali resort in violation of local COVID-19 rules. 

Local officials said his activities violated his tourism visa and he was deported back to Russia. 

“I love Bali. I am sorry and I apologise,” Mr Kosenko said after the ruling was made. 

Indonesia has the highest number of COVID-19 infections in South-East Asia, with 1.6 million cases and nearly 45,000 coronavirus-related deaths.

AP/ABC

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