Sun, 11 Jun 2000

Five men burned alive

JAKARTA (JP): Five suspected holdup men were mobbed and burned to death by an angry crowd after being caught demanding money from passengers of a mikrolet public minivan in East Jakarta on Saturday.

The five gang members, already listed on the local police's most wanted list, met their tragic deaths at the Jl. TB Simatupang and Jl. Raya Bogor intersection at 2:15 p.m., shortly after their victims daringly screamed for help.

By evening, police had released the identity only one of the five men: Nurdin, 33, of Cilandak, South Jakarta.

Ciracas Police chief Capt. Titik Valentina said the five bodies would be taken to Cipto Mangunkusumo General Hospital for postmortem examinations.

"We're still completing the administrative procedures," the policewoman said.

According to witnesses, the five men were on board an M06 mikrolet plying the Kampung Melayu-Gandaria route and had threatened the passengers, who then alerted passersby in the area.

But East Jakarta Police detective Second Lt. Ferdy Sambo quoted local residents as saying that the five had just committed a crime in the area and got away by taking a mikrolet.

Their victim, who was in the area, yelled "thief ... thief ..." and pointed his finger at the five men.

"The people then blocked off the mikrolet and forced them to get out and then mobbed them," Ferdy said.

The angry locals recognized the five as robbers in the area.

Witnesses said the mob first beat the five before somebody poured gasoline over them and set them on fire.

All five died on the spot. The police arrived a few minutes later. (06)