Wed, 24 Aug 1994

Police determined to quickly solve Sembiring murder

JAKARTA (JP): Police have said they are optimistic that the kidnap-murder case of ex-con Johny Sembiring will be solved soon due to adequate evidence and the existence of a living witness.

"This is not so difficult a case so, I think, we can quickly solve it," Brig. Gen. Rusdihardjo, investigative director of the National Police, told reporters yesterday.

The one-star police general said that the case was being jointly handled by the Jakarta and Bogor police, with help from national police headquarters.

National police spokesman Brig. Gen. IK Ratta said that police are still intensively questioning Tumiran, Sembiring's 28-year- old driver, the key witness who was freed by the kidnappers. Tumiran is receiving special protection from the police.

Police also recovered Sembiring's BMW sedan at 7:30 p.m. on Friday in front of PT Polyco on Jl. Hasanuddin in Tambun district, Bekasi. The car serves as important evidence.

Regarding the finding of the car, Lt. Col. Latief Rabar, a spokesman for City Police, told reporters yesterday that an unidentified driver came by the Tambun police station that evening and left after telling police that he saw a car burning on the nearby roadside.

Tambun police arrived on the scene and found Sembiring's car unlocked with the doors closed.

The car's backseat carpeting, rear section and part of the front seat were burnt, but the fire had been put out either by area residents or died by itself before police arrived.

Police observed signs of a collision on its rear bumper but they found nothing inside the car, including the keys.

Tambun police only became aware that the car belonged to Sembiring on Monday after Bekasi police came to fetch it as evidence.

"It's clear that the car was burned as part of the kidnappers' intention to destroy the evidence," Latief said.


After all, Sembiring's murder is still largely shrouded in mystery with the military flatly denying reports over the alleged involvement of its personnel in the murder case.

Sembiring, 62, also known by his real name of John Farrel Sembiring, had been an underworld crime figure since the 1950s.

Educated in a Dutch colonialist-run school, Sembiring who is fluent in both English and Dutch, achieved prominence in the national crime world during the 1960s. He was imprisoned several times during this period.

In the mid 1980s, Sembiring left his life of crime and took up work as a prominent debt collector and part-time evangelist for inmates.

Sembiring was kidnapped along with his driver Tumiran, 28, by a group of seven men around 5 p.m. Thursday on Jl. Tanah Abang II, Central Jakarta. Sembiring lived in Kebun Nanas district, East Jakarta.

Tumiran was later released later that evening by his captors in Jonggol district, Bogor, while Sembiring was discovered dead on Friday in Cariu district, an area not far from Jonggol.

Tumiran earlier told reporters the kidnappers had identified themselves as servicemen, but Jakarta military commander Maj. Gen. Hendropriyono stated Sunday that no servicemen were involved in the murder.

Referring to Hendropriyono's statement, Ratta also insisted yesterday that no Armed Forces members were involved in the murder.

"The investigation is continuing but it is certain that no military member is involved in the case," Ratta said. (jsk)