Tue, 09 Aug 1994

North Jakarta police deny bribery charge

JAKARTA (JP): North Jakarta police yesterday denied charges that they had taken bribes from a fence who allegedly bought electronic goods from 13 smugglers last month.

Lt. Col. Heru Susanto, the chief of the North Jakarta police, admitted that the fence, identified as Musdar, 36, a resident of Jl. Kebun Bawang VIII, North Jakarta, had once offered his men Rp 20 million (US$9,315) in exchange for part of some contraband confiscated by police.

"My men turned down the offer and refused to return the smuggled goods," Heru was quoted by Lt. Col. Latief Rabar, a spokesman for the City Police, as saying.

Police captured Musdar late last month at his home in North Jakarta and confiscated hundreds of electronic goods, which were believed to have been smuggled from abroad via Cigading beach, Serang, West Java. The goods were reportedly shipped by Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan-flagged ships.

The electronic goods, valued at hundreds of millions of rupiah, include freezers, video players, television sets, sewing machines, typewriters, organs, etc.

But police failed to capture any of the 13 smugglers who had allegedly sold the goods to Musdar.

The smuggled goods were displayed by the North Jakarta police at a press conference on July 30.


Several newspapers reported yesterday that the goods on display at the press meeting were of low-quality, while the ones of high quality were kept by police in a storehouse near Musdar's house for undisclosed reasons.

The newspapers went further, saying that police freed Musdar shortly after the press conference because the suspect had agreed to pay a bribe to them on the following day. The bribe was allegedly divided by the officers.

Chief of detectives of the North Jakarta police precinct Maj. Heri Prastowo was quoted by Suara Karya as saying, "It's true that we accepted the money. It was not his bail. He gave it to us willingly, without any pressure, or bill. Thus, we shared it among us."

But the North Jakarta police chief denied that his men had accepted the money.

Heru said that Heri Prastowo made the remark in frustration and anger at the nagging reporters who kept on questioning him whether the bribery had taken place or not.

Heri Prastowo is well known among reporters as a less-flexible officer.

Heru admitted, however, that Musdar had been released on bail, saying that the release was made on the basis that he was only a fence, not a smuggler and that the police had yet to capture any of the prime suspects.

"Trust me, the goods are still in our storehouse," he said. (jsk)