Sat, 09 Oct 1999

Motorist survives torture ordeal by toll road thieves

JAKARTA (JP): Police intelligence officers of the Penjaringan precinct apologized to a man who suffered 45 minutes of torture at the hands of six toll road car thieves and who still managed to crawl 500 meters on his injured legs to reach the Gedong toll gate in North Jakarta on Thursday night.

Chief of Penjaringan police intelligence unit Second Lt. Soetarmo identified the victim as 42-year-old Agus Trisulistyo Budi.

"I am thankful to the Gedong toll gate operators who immediately rescued the victim and got him to the nearby Atmajaya hospital," Soetarmo told reporters on Friday.

"Car thefts are bad enough. But torture as the one suffered by Agus is too much. My condolences and support to his family."

Yudi Prawati, Agus's wife, said her husband had been transferred to the Mitra Keluarga hospital in North Jakarta, where he is currently recovering.

Soetarmo said the case had been transferred to police of the Bekasi precinct, the area where the incident began.

Yudi said her husband, a manager at cellphone chip producer PT Hirosea in Cikarang, Bekasi, was returning home in his Suzuki Sidekick jeep, via the Cikarang toll road, at about 7:15 p.m., when a blue Kijang van came out of nowhere on the toll road and hit his jeep.

"My husband got out of his car to check for damage and saw that there was really nothing to be worried about. He got back into his car. Suddenly, the driver of the Kijang got out and started banging on Agus's door," Yudi said, quoting her husband.

"When Agus got out, the Kijang driver slammed Agus's body against the jeep, pulled his hands behind him and choked Agus with very strong arms. That's how it all began."

Yudi said her husband was dumped on the floor of the jeep's back seat, while his hands were cuffed to the jeep's door.

"Two men sat in front, and the other two behind. The two at the back kept kicking Agus in the back and head. They took his watch, his wallet, which only had Rp 30,000, and kept on kicking," she said, adding that two other people drove the Kijang van, following the jeep.

Yudi said Agus had tried to lift his swollen head up to somehow grab the attention of the toll gate operators when they got to the Pondok Gede Timur toll gate.

"The thieves grabbed my husband's face and shoved a revolver into his mouth," she said.

"Then, Agus told me that the thieves started asking each other, 'How should we kill him and where should we dump him?'"

"This really scared Agus. It was when they got to the Pluit toll road that they suddenly kicked him out of the jeep. From there Agus crawled to safety."

Agus managed to get to the Gedong toll gate, about 500 meters from where he was thrown from the jeep, and was rescued by toll gate operators at about 8:20 p.m. (ylt)