Sat, 13 Mar 1999

Police search for bodies of six workers

PURWOKERTO, Central Java (JP): Of the nine people believed to have been killed by a person recruiting them to work overseas, police have only recovered three of the bodies.

Banyumas Police chief Lt. Col. Johnny H. Hutauruk told The Jakarta Post on Friday that the three were identified as Syaiful, 20, Suratno, 21, and Sarno, 23, all from Cirebon.

On Friday police were still searching the Serayu River and others areas along the north coast in an attempt to locate the remains of Arifin, Taka, Tinggal, Syarif, Hamzah and Amijaya Firdaus, also mostly in their 20s. Most of the victims are believed to have been given sedatives, police said. Autopsies of the bodies of Suratno and Sarno revealed stab wounds to their necks.

Johnny said the first victim, Syaiful, was killed in December while the last victim was killed earlier this month.

Police, citing testimony given by the suspect, said the victims were killed because the suspect could not stand their constant pestering, asking him when they could leave and start work.

The suspect told police he had promised the victims work in Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei, but their passports had not yet been issued. The victims applied five months ago for their passports, paying millions of rupiah, police said.

Two of the victims were buried in the Banyumas and Kebumen forests, and the other victim was found in a septic tank behind the suspect's home. The remaining six victims were reportedly dumped in a river.

The suspect, Aidit, 27, who was arrested on Thursday, said he worked as a broker for migrant workers for a labor supply firm in Jakarta. Police said he came from the Kapetakan district in the Cirebon regency, West Java, and was staying in the village of Kedungwuluh Kidul in the Patikraja district in Banyumas. He is now being detained at the Banyumas Police station. Neighbors reported the suspect to police because they were suspicious of the constant stream of strange visitors to his house. (45)