Wed, 23 Jul 2003

Military arms killed Boedyharto, police says

Tiarma Siboro and Damar Harsanto, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The National Military Police Commander Maj. Gen. Sulaiman A.B. hinted on Tuesday that a sharp shooter using military equipment was involved in the cold-blooded shooting of a businessman and his Army's Special Forces (Kopassus) bodyguard.

"I believe that the killer is a well trained person and a sharp shooter. Evident from the projectiles found near the victims' bodies, the sharp shooter used standard military weapons, either a gun or a rifle, with the caliber 9mm," he told reporters at the Army's Headquarters in Central Jakarta.

The two-star general said that these conclusions were based on preliminary evidence, adding that he had already assigned his members to join the police in investigating the case.

PT Asaba president director Boedyharto Angsono, 55, and his bodyguard First Sgt. Edy Siyet, 33, were shot dead by an unidentified man at the Sasana Krida sports stadium in North Jakarta on Saturday.

The suspect was accompanied by another man who was waiting on a motorcycle while the murder took place.

Boedyharto suffered six shot wounds to the head and body and Edy one to the head. Police found eight projectiles at the scene.

Police sources said earlier that the hitmen must have been highly-skilled in using firearms and "far smarter and more skillful than Edy" as they had easily paralyzed him, despite the fact that he was a member of the elite Kopassus' anti terrorist squad.

The doctor who conducted the autopsies concluded that the shooter had been standing very close to both the victims. The doctor found ash in the open shot wounds and reasoned that most of the bullets had penetrated the bodies.

Asked if the killer could be from a military unit, Sulaiman said: "we have yet to conclude if the murder implicates units of the military. But, indeed, such weapons are used by soldiers from the Army, the Navy and the Air Force."

But he said civilians and police are also familiar with these kinds of weapons. So, the police have intensified their investigations to include many parties who have access to such weapons.

The National Police Chief Gen. Da'i Bachtiar said that the police would intensify rechecking of the possession of weapons among civilians in an effort to crush street crimes.

He also said that the police would investigate the possibility of groups of men operating as hired assassins.

"Responding to public anxiety over increasing street crimes and the possible presence of hitman groups, we (the police) are now monitoring the distribution of weapons among civilians," Da'i said in a joint press conference with Coordinating Minister for Political and Security Affairs Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

Although the police hold the authority to issue licenses for weapons possessed by civilians, most criminals use unregistered weapons, Da'i said.

Boedyharto was buried at the Petamburan cemetery, Central Jakarta, on Tuesday.

During the funeral's proceedings, Boedyharto's wife said that her family did intend to take revenge upon those who had killed her husband.

"We won't take any revenge ... God's love makes us strong to stand here," she said in tears.

The ceremony was secured by several bodyguards in plainclothes.

Edy was taken to Padalarang, West Java, for burial, on Sunday.