Mon, 29 Aug 1994

Hindarto: Sembiring probably killed by debt collectors

JAKARTA (JP): City Police Chief Maj. Gen. Mochammad Hindarto says he believes debt collectors killed controversial ex-convict Johny Sembiring in inter-gang rivalry.

"The methods of the kidnappers are similar to those commonly used by debt collectors in handling debtors. Therefore, we have focussed our investigation on some such groups," Hindarto told reporters at the city police headquarters over the weekend.

The two-star police general pointed out the way the kidnappers rammed Sembiring's BMW sedan before they captured him. The captors deliberately hit the victim's car with a Kijang minivan from behind three times to force him to get out of the car so that they could grab him.

"I know one retired officer who also once had his car hit from behind by debt collectors. When he got out of his car to settle the matter, they forced him into their car. Thus, it is just a debt collectors' method," he said.

Hindarto spoke to the press after presiding over a one-day plenary meeting of city police leaders. They discussed security affairs over the period of three months from April to June.

Sembiring, 62, and his driver Tumiran, 28, were kidnapped by a group of seven men in a Kijang van last Thursday afternoon, shortly after Sembiring left his office on Jl. Tanah Abang II, Central Jakarta.

Because the van hit his BMW three times, both Tumiran and Sembiring got out of the car to settle the matter.

The seven men then ordered them into the van at gunpoint.

A serviceman who witnessed the event tried to help Sembiring and Tumiran, but did not dare to force the issue because he was heavily outnumbered.

"It was one man against seven men, you know," Hindarto commented.

The seven men then tied up and blindfolded their hostages, so that they would not know their destination.

Tumiran was released alive by the kidnappers in the evening in Jonggol district, Bogor. Sembiring was found dead on the following day in Cariu district, an area not far from Jonggol.

Sembiring's car was found burned on Thursday evening in Tambun district, Bekasi.

Post mortem

Hindarto said police had received the preliminary results of the post-mortem examination of Sembiring's body from the Bogor Red Cross hospital, but were still waiting for a complete report, which would be used to determine the exact cause of death.

"According the preliminary autopsy results, there are no signs of gunshot wounds, nor injections on his body. One of his left ribs was broken. Examining doctors said a person can die from pressure on the side of their chest if the pressure lasts up to six minutes," Hindarto explained.

Hindarto said the rib's fracture left a wound on Sembiring's chest, which Bogor police initially mistook for a gunshot wound.

Sembiring, 62, was notorious as a robber for three decades from the 1950s on, but from the 1980s he sought to rehabilitate himself. He became a debt collector and a part-time evangelist who preached to inmates. (jsk)