Sat, 09 Dec 2000

Govt wants action on nightspots

JAKARTA (JP): Following an attack on an alleged gambling den in Pluit, North Jakarta, Governor Sutiyoso warned the director of PT Pembangunan Pluit Jaya to take action against nightspots violating a governor's circular on opening hours during Ramadhan.

"I will fire the director. I'm tired of repeatedly telling him to handle this problem," the governor said after the Friday prayer at City Hall.

Sutiyoso also has asked the Jakarta Police to stop the attacks on entertainment centers.

The governor earlier issued a notice banning saunas, nightclubs, discotheques and gaming arcades from operating during Ramadhan.

Hundreds of members of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) attacked on Wednesday the Mickey Mouse pinball arcade in the food court of the Megamal Pluit shopping center in Pluit, North Jakarta.

The group claimed the arcade was being used as a gambling den. They damaged 40 pinball machines and injured six security guards. Two FPI members were injured by broken glass.

Meanwhile, Thamrin Djarmain, the director of PT Pembangunan Pluit, the city's jointly owned urban development company, said the pinball arcade had been sealed off since September for violating its building permit, which had been issued for a karaoke business.

"The tenant was operating the pinball business secretly," said Thamrin, adding that his office had sent several warning letters to the tenant.

PT Pembangunan Pluit Jaya manages some 2,600 hectares in a concession under its authority.

The alleged gambling activities, which occurred on the city administration's property, were technically being managed by the city administration through the company.

The problem was raised last June, when several councillors repeatedly questioned Sutiyoso over the issue of gambling in Pluit.

In June, the company demolished the Pluit Plaza building and sealed off Lucky Star and Puja Mami. The licenses of the three locations only allowed them to operate as billiard halls. However, Thamrin said they misused their permits to host gambling activities. (07)