Wed, 05 Apr 2000

11 killed in vigilante violence since January, police report

JAKARTA (JP): Eleven men have been mobbed to death since January this year in increasing cases of vigilantism in Greater Jakarta, city police spokesman Lt. Col. Zainuri Lubis said on Monday.

Zainuri said in some cases, mobs burned victims alive, or set them on fire after they were mobbed to death.

"We have yet to find a way of controlling the increase in vigilantism here," Zainuri told reporters.

He said with millions of unemployed city residents, people tended to become restless and frustrated, which often led them to commit crimes.

"Whether it is the thief or the man who mobs the thief to death, both have committed a crime. The rate of deaths by vigilantism would decrease if living conditions became better for residents."

According to police data, the 11 who were killed were mostly alleged thieves.

On March 30, three alleged thieves were mobbed to death in Bogor, Tangerang and Bekasi. In Bogor, a man was caught taking two live chickens.

Two unidentified men were mobbed to death in Tangerang on March 15 when they were caught stealing a live goat. Residents burned their bodies afterward.

Oni, 25, who was suspected of stealing a goat in Tangerang, was beaten and then stoned to death on March 17.

Three of four men allegedly caught stealing a motorcycle, were beaten, and then burned to death in Cengkareng, West Jakarta, also on March 17.

On March 5, angry ojek (motorcycle taxi) drivers in Jagakarsa allegedly lynched a man, identified as Tarmo, for not paying for his ride.

The ojek drivers said they were unaware that Tarmo was suspected of attacking National Awakening Party (PKB) chairman Matori Abdul Djalil earlier at his residence in the Tanjung Mas Raya housing complex of Jagakarsa.

Toyib, 38, a resident of Cibeureum, Malingping, Lebak, was beaten and burned to death when he was allegedly caught stealing a motorcycle in early January.

Police shot dead on March 27 two of four suspected thieves, identified as Iwan and Asep. The four suspects had normally operated near the Jl. Perintis-Yos Sudarso intersection of Kelapa Gading in North Jakarta.

The third suspect, Luki, surrendered to police, and the fourth suspect, Eko, is still at large.

Zainuri said poverty and frustration also compelled people to commit other crimes.

"Very poor people who rape women before robbing them is an attempt of killing someone mentally," Zainuri said.

"An example of a different kind of vigilantism is when a student gets killed by another during a brawl."

On February 25, Iskandari, 21, a resident of Pasarbaru Timur, Central Jakarta, was stabbed to death by a high school student in Tanah Abang, Central Jakarta.

A woman, identified as Mhr, 23, was viciously and repeatedly raped by two men in a taxi on Jan. 21. Following the rape, the men robbed her of about Rp 500,000 (US$66). (ylt)