Mon, 22 Aug 1994

Prominent ex-con Johny Sembiring kidnapped, killed

JAKARTA (JP): Johny Sembiring, one the most prominent figures of Indonesia's criminal underworld in the 1960s, was kidnapped and killed by a group of unidentified men.

Sembiring, 62, ran a debt collection business. He was reportedly kidnapped from his BMW sedan by a group of men riding a Kijang van Thursday afternoon in Tanah Abang district, Central Jakarta.

He was found dead Friday evening on the roadside in Dukuh Sirna Rasa village, Cariu subdistrict, Bogor, West Java.

Along with Sembiring, the men also kidnapped his driver Tumiran, aged 30, but he was earlier dumped, alive, in nearby a spot in the same district.

Sources at the city police headquarters said yesterday that police had yet to solve the mystery surrounding his murder.

Johny Sembiring, also known by his real name John Farrel Sembiring, had served a series of jail terms and once managed to escape from prison.

Later, the ex-con promised not to return to crime and turned his attention to debt-collection. He also became a part-time evangelist to inmates over the past several years.

He was said to have left his office in Tanah Abang for his home on Jl. Redaksi, a housing complex in East Jakarta, at around 5 p.m.

According to his driver Tumiran, his BMW was reportedly hit three times from behind by a Kijang van packed with a group more than five of men, who the police did not identify.

Tumiran got out of the car to settle the matter, but the men blamed him for the incident instead.

What happened next was reported the press in several different versions.

One version had it that, seeing his driver exchanging harsh words with the men, Sembiring got out of his car to assist.

No sooner did Sembiring appear than the men dragged him and Tumiran into the van at gunpoint.

This led observers to believe the group of men had deliberately hit his car and harassed his driver with the sole intention of luring Sembiring out of the car.

A uniformed serviceman, who happened to be at the scene, sought to help Sembiring and Tumiran but soon retreated after being told by the mysterious persons were also servicemen after they showed off their firearms.

Another version has it that it was a police officer who saw them quarreling. He reportedly proposed they settle the case themselves instead of bringing it to police, and left.

After the officer left, the men dragged Sembiring and Tumiran into their van at gunpoint.

Saying nothing

The kidnappers blindfolded and tied them up, saying nothing while driving the car to some destinations unknown to Tumiran.

Around 8 p.m., Tumiran was dumped outside in Jonggol district, Bogor, and discovered by the area residents blindfolded, tied up and with minor injuries.

Back to Jakarta, Tumiran reported the case his boss' family and to police Friday morning.

Unfortunately, Sembiring was found dead at around 10 p.m by the residents of Dukuh Sirna Rasa, who had earlier saw something suspicious dumped from a Kijang van which speedily returned towards Jakarta.

Another report said his body was discovered in a burlap bag with gunshot wounds and bearing signs of torture.

However, Sembiring's family claimed that the Bogor police informed them of the death by phone at around 7 p.m., saying the body had been taken to the Red-Cross hospital in the city.

Sembiring's body is scheduled to be buried today at the Pondok Kelapa cemetery after his daughter, who lives in Germany, returns. (jsk)