Tue, 25 Jan 2000

Man shot by officer unable to pay bills

JAKARTA (JP): A newspaper seller who has been receiving treatment at a hospital after being shot controversially by a military officer in early January is being held there due to unpaid medical bills of Rp 20 million (US$2,900).

The victim, Widodo, was admitted to the Mediros hospital in North Jakarta after the random shooting outside the Seribu Satu Malam restaurant in Kelapa Gading on Jan. 2. His lawyer Abriori said that about 15 newspaper sellers in the Kelapa Gading area have lent Rp 5.5 million to Widodo and are desperate to get their money back.

"They are planning to really do something crazy on the streets... and that's what scares me. So far myself, Widodo's uncle Salimin and two military officers have pitched in Rp 9 million," Abriori said.

I Gusti Ketut Putra, an adjutant of Military Police chief Maj. Gen. Djasrie Marin shot traffic police officer First Sgt. Fikri Zakaria dead outside the restaurant, located on Jl. Boulevard. Gusti was allegedly trying to cover up a drug bust and Fikri was allegedly threatening to expose Gusti. Widodo, passing by at the time, was caught in the crossfire and was seriously wounded in his large and small intestines and his urinary duct.

Head of the Jakarta Military Garrison Brig. Gen. Tubagus Hasanuddin, who had earlier visited Widodo, said the garrison would demand that the commanders of all concerned parties involved in the shooting pay for Widodo's hospital bills.

"This shooting was carried out by a crazy man. A very stupid soldier. Whatever the reason, this should not have happened," Tubagus told reporters at the hospital.

Abriori added on Monday that Hasanuddin had, however, explained to him that this was a "personal matter, not a matter that the (military) institution should deal with".

"Which is why he pitched in only Rp 2 million, another officer pitched in Rp 500,000 and I put in Rp 1.1 million," Abriori said.

"I don't know what to do. I know that Gusti has been handed over to the Jakarta Military Police and might even be fired, but who will get Widodo out of the hospital?"

Earlier, a source at North Jakarta Police Headquarters said Fikri apprehended Ketut, his friend Billy Warikkie and Anisah on New Year's Eve, in possession of shabu-shabu (crystal methamphetamine) at a house in the Pulomas housing complex.

Fikri tried to blackmail Billy, Anisah and Ketut. Ketut confronted Fikri, which led to a heated verbal exchange outside the restaurant. Ketut then dragged Fikri outside, where Fikri was shot three times. Tubagus told reporters that the friendship between Billy and Ketut went back to when Ketut was a newly appointed adjutant of Djasrie.

"They have known each other since 1996. I am still trying to find out whether Ketut was really Billy's backer... and whether Billy really is a drug dealer or just a user," Tubagus said. (ylt)