Wed, 14 Jun 2000

Ex-gang leader arrested for alleged gun possession

JAKARTA (JP): Hercules, a former gang leader at Tanah Abang regional market in Central Jakarta was arrested predawn on Tuesday for the alleged possession of an FN-45 handgun, said a city police officer on Tuesday.

"City police arrested him at 3 a.m. at Cibitung tollgate in Bekasi," said Col. Alex Bambang Riatmodjo, chief of the city police detectives.

He said the police seized from the suspect the FN-45 handgun, along with its seven bullets.

Alex said Hercules was arrested as he was driving his car through the Cibitung toll gate.

"The police, who followed the car upon receiving a tip-off from the public, then stopped the car at the tollgate at 3 a.m," he said.

Capt. Roli Lahban of the City Traffic Police, one of the officers posted to secure the Jakarta-Cikampek tollroad, said that he stopped a suspicious-looking Kijang van early Tuesday morning, which had just come out of the Cibitung tollgate.

"I found out that Hercules and his three friends were inside. I personally checked the Kijang van... I don't remember the van's registration number. I found the FN-45 weapon and the seven bullets," Roli told reporters.

"A keris (dagger) was also found under one of the van's seats."

Alex said the city police detectives have observed Hercules for some time, because he had been suspected not only for possessing the gun, but also for organizing a gambling den.

Alex didn't disclose the gambling area, which is now controlled by Hercules.

Hercules, a native of East Timor, is a former chief of a gang controlling the Tanah Abang market, slated as the biggest textile market in the country.

After a big clash with another group of gangsters in the market last year, Hercules moved his base to Ragunan in South Jakarta.

Alex didn't disclose how the suspect got the handgun and for what purpose he kept it with him. (asa/ylt)