Fri, 19 Mar 1999

Police call on media to help fight gambling

JAKARTA (JP): A senior police officer urged local media to assist the police in efforts to abolish the mushrooming number of gambling dens in the capital instead of assisting the operators in spreading the social disease.

"We totally disagree with certain advertisements in the media which publish the results of judi buntut," Jakarta Police spokesman Lt. Col. Zainuri Lubis said on Wednesday, referring to a game which has become a favorite among the city's gamblers.

The publication of such ads helps boost the operation of the illegal business because it attracts more gamblers, Lubis told The Jakarta Post.

"Besides, it makes it easy for gamblers to learn the latest results of the game," he added.

The police have not yet decided whether the published advertisements can be classified as a criminal case, Lubis said.

"We welcome legal experts to give their opinions whether such advertisements in the press can be categorized as criminal actions," he added.

Lubis said he contacted Sinar Pagi daily concerning the matter, but he could do nothing because of uncertainty over the legal aspects of the matter.

The daily, controlled by businessman Nirwan Bakrie, brother of Aburizal Bakrie, chairman of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, reportedly has run a number of advertisements publishing the results of various judi buntut games since Jan. 10 this year.

The advertisements give the latest results of the games, their respective operators and a short message from the operators.

Operators' names usually obscure the true nature of the ads. Some of the operators use names such as Zodiak Club, Klub Fortuna, Ahli Nujum, Sempurna, To-Kam and Hoki.

When asked to comment on the publication of the ads, Roji, an employee in the advertising department at Sinar Pagi, told the Post all advertisers of such ads refused to reveal their identities.

"We just accept their orders," he said without further explanation.

"Some advertisers run such ads three days a week, while others put the ads in two days a week," he said, adding that each ad cost Rp 200,000.

A number of judi buntut operators are located on the first and second floors of the Senen Inpres market in Central Jakarta.

On Wednesday, for example, Sempurna's office, located in the Bintang Kejora coffee shop on the top floor of the market, was packed with people.

Lubis said police recently arrested six gambling operators in West and Central Jakarta.

"As soon as we arrive at the gambling sites, the sites are closed."

Lubis said that Jakarta Police chief Maj. Gen. Noegroho Djajusman had ordered police precinct chiefs across Jakarta to crack down on gambling operations. (01)