Fri, 11 Feb 2000

32 men detained for vandalizing

JAKARTA (JP): Thirty-two men were detained on Thursday after they pelted rocks at a shop-house in Gondangdia, Cikini of Central Jakarta in what police believe was part of a long- standing land dispute, a local officer said.

A resident of the building, Gina, said the men, some of whom were armed with sharp weapons, arrived at the scene early in the morning.

Gina said she suspected the men were paid by a former land owner of the three-story building to create trouble because of a dispute over the ownership of the plot.

"They threw rocks at the building as soon as they got out of the taxis," Gina said.

She said the 1,200-square-meter plot was mortgaged by Siti Fatimah from the now defunct Southeast Asia Bank 20 years ago.

Siti was subsequently unable to pay her debt and the bank sold the land to several parties, Gina said. It was later resold to a company, PT Amaco, from which Gina bought the building in 1985.

The building is currently jointly owned by 10 companies which bought the plot last year, Gina said.

Chief of detectives Hendra Suhartiyono said the police were investigating the 32 men and trying to determine if someone instigated the incident.

"We have deployed several officers in Gondangdia to ensure that a similar incident will not happen again."

Police seized a number of sharp weapons, rocks and iron bars from the men as material evidence. Siti Fatimah was not available for comment, Hendra added. (06)