Thu, 24 Jul 2003

'Money can buy 'justice' now'

Police have recently acknowledged the existence of hitmen in the country, following the brutal shootings of a businessman and his Army's Special Forces bodyguard in North Jakarta. Media reports showed that the murder was the 13th in the city this year alone. The Jakarta Post asked some people for their opinion on crimes involving firearms.

Yanti (not her real name), 33, is unemployed and lives in Pejaten, South Jakarta. She is single:

I feel scared when I read that hitmen are available to commit murder in the city. As an ordinary person, I'm afraid of becoming the wrongful target of those murderers. People's lives are not regarded as precious anymore.

Our right to security is under threat due to the alarming level of robbery or murder using firearms.

I guess the ease with which you can obtain firearms plays a great role in hitman killings.

I assume that unscrupulous military or police officers are allegedly backing the hitmen.

I strongly believe that money can buy "justice" now.

The rich can easily hire hitmen to kill their enemies, although it may be expensive.

Firearms smugglers should also be blamed for this (crime).

I wonder what officials from the Customs and Excise directorate general are doing to minimize weapons smuggling. How can such dangerous and illegal firearms fall freely into the wrong hands?

Oppie, 29, works for a private company in South Jakarta. She lives in Kampung Melayu, East Jakarta, with her family:

I think Hollywood has become a reality now, as criminals can easily shoot their victims dead. Street crimes seem to be just as they are in action movies.

During the New Order regime, if you wanted to take revenge you would choose an unobtrusive way to kill your target. Back then, people rarely used guns.

Nowadays, robbery or revenge can be achieved with bullets. It's so extreme.

I'm sure that the military are behind the crimes or illegal ownership of firearms. How about deserters who are disillusioned at their units?

Money really matters now. It can take someone's life, just because of rivalry or hard feelings.

In this reform era, people with money can hire assassins to kill their enemies using guns. Such freedom is even abused to commit crimes.

It's a shame that some firearms can be smuggled in so easily due to our Customs and Excise officers' lack of vigilance. They may be turning a blind eye to smuggling after getting paid off.

I suggest that law enforcers deploy petrus (unknown snipers) just as in the New Order era, because it could reduce the crime rate.

Wijaya, 32, unemployed, lives on Jl. Pramuka, East Jakarta, with his wife and daughter:

The rampant use of illegal firearms, is, I think, due to the absence of proper law enforcement. Maybe the enforcers are too busy struggling to survive and therefore ignore the need to be on the lookout all the time.

I still believe, though, that those who obtain firearms legally have nothing to do with the current increase in street crimes.

On many occasions, the firearms used have been similar to those of the military instead of police officers. Of course, that excludes criminals using homemade firearms.

I think that ill-disciplined military officers should be held to blame for trying to earn extra cash through unlawful activities such as hiring out their guns.

Also, the flow of smuggled goods is rampant now. No wonder weapons easily get past Customs and Excise officers -- their whole attitude is a disgrace!

I believe that many gangsters or hitmen are available for hire.

-- Leo Wahyudi S.