Fri, 30 Nov 2001

Fireworks abusers may get death

Ahmad Junaidi, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

City Police and the City Administration pledged on Thursday to take stern actions against firecracker producers, distributors and users, claiming that some of the larger noise-making devices could be classified as bombs.

"Some of these are bombs with seriously explosive material. Gone are the days of small, harmless firecrackers," City Police Deputy Chief Brig. Gen. Makbul Padmanegara said after a meeting at City Hall.

Makbul said the incendiary devices, which are currently on sale in almost every market here, could be considered small bombs which endanger people's life.

He said the producers, distributors and even users will henceforth be charged with Article 187 of the Criminal Code on public disturbances. "They could face a maximum sentence of eight years in prison," Makbul said.

He added that some people could feasibly be charged with violating the Emergency Law No. 12/1951 which bans the use or possession of explosive materials and carries either a death sentence or life imprisonment.

Makbul informed the media that as many as 120 people had been detained since the beginning of Ramadhan, which began Nov. 16 and is traditionally a popular time to set off fireworks.

"The police are very serious about this matter. We'll bring offenders to justice," he said.

The meeting which was led by City Governor Sutiyoso was also attended by City Council Speaker Edy Waluyo.

Sutiyoso said his administration called on Jakarta's Muslim residents to conduct Takbiran keliling (parades and prayers on the eve of Idul Fitri) in mosques and not in cars traveling around the city.

"Many people throw firecrackers while they are doing the Takbiran on the streets. It will disturb other people," the governor said.