Wed, 05 Jan 2000

Cipto Mangunkusumo morgue kept busy with traffic deaths, homicide in 1999

JAKARTA (JP): Cipto Mangunkusumo General Hospital morgue in Central Jakarta received 2,337 dead bodies last year, including some 652 victims of homicide cases, a report said.

Some 929 of the victims were killed in traffic accidents in Greater Jakarta. The number excluded the eight victims of the accident between an employee bus and a train in Jagakarsa, South Jakarta on Dec. 28.

According to forensic reports, 96 people died from suicide and 234 died from accidents at the workplace, while 366 died from illness or disease. The remaining 60 died from drug overdose, which is twice the number in 1998.

The report said that some 132 out of the 652 homicide victims died from mob attacks, eight of which were set on fire after.

A resident of Kalideres area, West Jakarta, where at least three of the mob attacks and arson occurred in the past two months, told The Jakarta Post that the community could not wait for the police to arrest the culprits.

"The alleged thieves were trying to take motorcycles or breaking into a house. Before they escape, it's better to beat them up than to bring them to the police," the man, who refused to be named, said.

He said the attack should be observed as "shock therapy" for other outlaws. "Thieves deserve it as they give us much trouble. The attacks were aimed at teaching them a lesson," he said.

Noted criminologist of the University of Indonesia, Adrianus Meliala, said the mob attack was not a new trend in the country and has now become the community's only option to settle criminal cases in the coming years.

"If law enforcement officials fail to respond promptly to the community's need for firm action against outlaws, people will continue to settle criminal cases in their own way, ignoring the law and its officials," he told the Post.

Meliala attributed the phenomenon to the police's incapability to adapt to its new position after being separated from the military, the lack of police budget and the loopholes in the Indonesian law system.

Jakarta Police spokesman Lt. Col. Zainuri Lubis said the police also failed to reveal mob attack cases because the community always covered up and hid the evidence. "They won't speak up," he said.

Meliala said the mass mobilization phenomenon had already reached the warning stage.

"Community participation in criminal cases has increased. We cannot allow this to happen. It's time for the new administration to pay greater attention to this matter." (01)