Thu, 31 Jul 2003

Police arrest a suspect in kidnapping case

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta/Surabaya

East Java Police have arrested Dani alias Deni Saputra, 21, a member of a serial kidnapping gang. The suspect was nabbed on Tuesday at his girlfriend's rented house on Jl. Pucang Anom, Juwingan subdistrict in the East Java capital of Surabaya.

However, Police could not provide detailed information about the arrest, considering the fate of the two children whom the gang abducted in Cianjur, West Java, two weeks ago and are still being held captive. Two children who were also kidnapped at the same time were later released by the kidnappers.

Psychiatrist Danardi Sosrosumihardjo of the University of Indonesia (UI) told The Jakarta Post that Dani's brother, who remains at large along with other members of the gang, might not kill the remaining hostages.

"The rest of the gang might spend some time to think of their next step. A barter. The children in exchange for the younger brother," he said, adding that it was not easy to deal with psychologically disturbed people.

Cianjur Police chief of detectives Adj. Comr. John W. Hutagalung expressed a similar view. He said that the gang would likely offer the two children in exchange for Deni's release.

Separately, Cipayung Police subprecinct chief of detectives chief Second Insp. Hariyadi said that Deni's arrest was made possible due to cooperation between East Java Police and Cianjur Police.

He also said that the Pademangan Police were bringing the suspect to Jakarta.

"The suspect should already be in the city by now," he told the Post.

Pademangan Police declined to give any comment.

East Java chief of detectives for general crime, Adj. Sr. Comr. Gatot Eddy Pramono said that police were still tracking down Dani's older brother Jerry alias Jefri Saputra, 25, and other members of the gang.

The Saputra brothers allegedly started abducting children in March when they kidnapped a 23-month-old baby girl in Pademangan, North Jakarta. Early this month, the gang also allegedly kidnapped a nine-year-old girl in Cipayung, East Jakarta.

Both victims were found dead in cardboard boxes after they had been brutally raped and murdered.

The gang has demanded in earlier cases a ransom of between Rp 5 million (US$588) and Rp 15 million.

The previous kidnap victims came from low income families who lived in dense-populated areas.

Danardi had earlier warned that the Saputras were smart and most likely pedophiles.

Police had also confirmed that the motive of the kidnapping was money and sexual perversion.

Criminologist Erlangga Masdiana of UI had criticized the police performance, saying that they would need mounting pressure from the public to motivate them to solve the case.