Tue, 29 Jul 2003

Pedophilic kiddnapping spree raises call for alert

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Parents are warned to be extra careful in watching their children because the serial kidnappers, known as the Saputra brothers gang, are ingenious and most likely pedophiles.

Danardi Sosrosumihardjo, a psychiatrist at the University of Indonesia, told The Jakarta Post on Monday that parents should be particularly alert if young men had approached family members within the last month or two.

"These Saputra brothers have high social skills, which make it easy for them to win the trust of children and their parents," he said.

He underlined that, considering the gang's modus operandi, it could be assumed that the brothers' main motive was of a sexual nature with a certain fascination for young children, or pedophilia. Money was only a secondary motive, he said.

Pedophiles usually establish an initial relationship of trust and familiarity with their victims, and seldom confine their molestations and sexual assaults to only one child.

Criminologist Erlangga Masdiana told the Post that kidnapping was categorized as a petty crime, but in this case the serial abduction could be said to be organized, and thus lean more toward a felony.

He said the police had been able to solve only a few common kidnapping cases up to now, and in order to solve the serial kidnapping, they would need assistance from the society and the media.

"Police need to be pressured to solve this case. This is no ordinary crime, and it needs extra attention," he said.

He echoed Danardi's call for parents to be more careful in watching their children.

Earlier, City Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Prasetyo told the Post that the city police would lend a hand to the serial kidnapping case, because it involved other provincial police authorities.

He said the city police would assist detectives of other subprecincts with the appropriate technology to track down the Saputra brothers.

The brothers introduce themselves to victims' families as Dani, alias Deni Saputra, 21, and Jerry, alias Jefry Saputra, 25. The brothers are also helped by a man and a woman during the kidnapping.

The gang first wins the trust of the victims' families over two or three months -- in one case, the gang had even rented a house nearby. A gang member would then take the children for a walk, generally after politely asking their parents' permission, and kidnap them.

Media reports said the victims usually lived in crowded residential areas and did not come from wealthy families.

Since March, the gang has reportedly kidnapped a baby girl in Pademangan, North Jakarta, a 4-year-old girl in Bogor and a nine- year-old girl in Cipayung, East Jakarta. Last week, they abducted four children in Cianjur, West Java.

The gang is also believed to be responsible for two other kidnappings in Tangerang between March and July.

The brothers have raped and murdered two of their victims because their parents could not pay the ransom.

Allegedly, Jefry and Deni told the victims' parents that they were professionals and had killed a number of children prior to the recent cases.

Police have yet to confirm this claim, although it has now been four months since the brothers began their kidnapping spree.