Wed, 03 Aug 1994

Police to catch pimp's backers, if any

JAKARTA (JP): City Police Chief Maj. Gen. Mochammad Hindarto said police are conducting an investigation to locate backers of Hartono, a pimp who was captured in a raid last week, and will send them to court if there is enough evidence to prove having backed the suspect's sex business.

"So far, however, he (Hartono) insists he has no backers and nobody claims to back him up," Hindarto said Monday in Lido, West Java, during the opening of the police cadet course.

Hartono Setyawan, 42, who was notoriously known as an untouchable pimp of high-class call-girls for two decades, was captured by city police Wednesday afternoon at his mansion in the Pondok Indah housing complex for running prostitution in a house on Jl. Prapanca, South Jakarta.

Aside from Jakarta, Hartono also ran other high-class brothels in Bandung, Semarang, Surabaya, and Denpasar, all which had been reportedly closed down by police after his arrest on Wednesday.

Many people believed that Hartono, an Indonesian of Chinese ancestry, had recruited a handful of backers to protect the illegal businesses he established in the 70s.

It is felt that if he had no backing he would have been incarcerated instead of only being put on two years probation by the South Jakarta district court 1986 for similar charges.

However, Hindarto said, it was difficult to verify the speculation since Hartono insisted on the non-existence of any backers.

In a related development, Lt. Col. Gories Mere, chief of the General Crime office at the city police headquarters, denied the rumor circulating among the public that Hartono had been released on bail.

"He is still here," Mere said, herding reporters to see for themselves that the suspect, who was clad in black sweat shirt and denim pants, was in police custody.

If found guilty, Hartono can be sentenced to 16 months imprisonment according to criminal code's chapter 296, which forbids sexual procurement.

But Chapter 506 of the code, which was used by the South Jakarta district court in sentencing the suspect in 1986 to two years probation for similar charges, classifies the offense as a misdemeanor.

Meanwhile AMPI, a youth organization affiliated to the ruling Golkar, has thrown their weight behind police on the arrest of Hartono.

"We fully support the measure," Irianto H. Zainal, the deputy chief of the Jakarta chapter of AMPI, who visited the city police headquarters to express support to police over Hartono's arrest.

The youth organization underlined the necessity to impose heavy sentences on people involved in the sex business in an effort to protect the younger generation because the punishment on pimps under the existing criminal code is too mild. (jsk)