Tue, 14 Nov 2000

Popular participation in Tommy's manhunt

JAKARTA (JP): The manhunt for fugitive Hutomo 'Tommy' Mandala Putra, convicted in a land scam, has led many parties to take part, either seriously or jokingly, in the search.

In a front-page advertisement, Rakyat Merdeka daily offered a reward worth Rp 100 million (US$11,000) to anyone who could provide evidence about a possible collusion between Tommy and law enforcers to keep the fugitive out of jail.

The contest will be open until Dec. 24.

On Saturday, around 50 people from Humanika (Community Association for Humanity and Justice) carried a huge poster during their protest at Hotel Indonesia roundabout that read: "Rp 5 million reward for National Police Chief and Attorney General to arrest Tommy Soeharto."

Posters bearing the headshot of the youngest son of former president Soeharto with the word "Wanted" at the top could be found at many lamp and telephone posts, building walls and several other places on Jl. Salemba Raya, Central Jakarta, since early last week.

The posters, said to be placed by university students, did not offer any reward or even mention any telephone number to be contacted.

Late last week, City Police Chief Insp. Gen. Mulyono Sulaiman said in a TV interview that the public role in the arrest of Tommy was to be expected.

"It's not good if we have to provide a reward for people who help us in the manhunt.

What we really hope is that the people, who manage to find Tommy, would immediately hand over the fugitive to the nearby police station without doing anything illegal, such as beating him," he said. (dja)