Wed, 17 May 2000

Glodok are shakes off the gloom once again

JAKARTA (JP): Business activities at Harco Glodok electronics center in West Jakarta stated to show signs of life on Tuesday amid fears of further rioting in the predominantly ethnic-Chinese business district.

Several stores opened their doors to customers under the watchful eyes of dozens of uniformed police officers, while others whose stores were burned or vandalized by mobs during rioting on Saturday were still busy cleaning up the mess.

While the roadside next to the building remained vacant since the rioting, the curb on the opposite side of the road was occupied with at least four street vendors selling pirated VCDs.

The police, deployed to maintain security at the electronics center, made no attempt to shut down the vendors, who were just few steps away from them.

The Jakarta administration announced on Monday it would no longer tolerate the sale of pirated VCDs in the vicinity of Harco Glodok.

"If I don't run the business, how am I going to earn money?" said Roni, one of the VCD traders.

Like other vendors, Roni said he did not fear the possibility of further police raids against pirated VCDs and their vendors.

"Look, there are many police officers around here and they do nothing," he said, pointing to the police officers.

Roni said he did not open his business last Saturday because he had heard there would be a police raid in the area on that day.

"I heard a rumor about it, so I decided not to trade on that day," he said.

The early-morning raid by officers of the National Police Headquarters caused a riot on Saturday, leaving dozens of stores in Glodok and the nearby area burned and vandalized by the angry traders, who were accompanied by groups of youths.

The raid by the National Police officers has been criticized by many people, including House of Representatives Speaker Akbar Tandjung, particularly since it was conducted on May 13, the second anniversary of the bloody riots, burning and looting in the capital.

On Monday, an executive of the Indonesian Tape Recording Companies (Asiri) insisted that members of the association do not pay the police vast sums to raid the increasing number of traders of pirated VCDs on the capital's streets.

"Why should we pay? It's the police's job to investigate and conduct raids," Bimo Suryono of Asiri told The Jakarta Post.

"But we prepare, for instance, breakfast or lunch for the police. But we do nothing beyond that," Bimo said after a meeting with Jakarta Police chief Maj. Gen. Nurfaizi.

During the meeting, Bimo was accompanied by executives of other related associations, such as the Association of Indonesian Songwriters and Music Arrangers (Pappri) and People Against Copyrights Piracy and Pornography (Mappi).

The music organizations' executives met Nurfaizi to personally thank him for trying to put a stop to the sale of pirated VCDs in the capital. (09/ylt)