Wed, 14 Jun 2000

Recent vigilante killings raise death toll to 103

JAKARTA (JP): The killing of five suspected robbers by a mob in East Jakarta on Saturday raised the number of victims of street justice sent to the Cipto Mangunkusumo General Hospital (RSCM) to 103 since the start of the year.

Twelve of these bodies, including the five on Saturday, were charred as they were set on fire by the angry mob, according to statistics released by the hospital's morgue on Tuesday.

This year, the morgue introduced the category of "victims of mob violence" into its statistics. In the past, such victims were put in the category of general homicides.

The hospital says it has received 348 bodies, including 13 babies, who were victims of homicides since January.

Of these, 140 were killed with blunt objects, 108 with sharp weapons, 63 with live bullets.

The Jakarta Police have condemned the mob brutality which led to the five deaths on Saturday near Kampung Rambutan inter-city bus terminal in East Jakarta.

The five were believed to have robbed passengers of a public transit van (mikrolet). When the vehicle stopped at a traffic light, the victims called for help and the five men were dragged out of the car, beaten and then set on fire.

"This indicates the public distrust of the law enforcement agencies in this country," Jakarta Police spokesman Maj. Alex Mandalika said.

Many resorted to taking the law into their own hands, he said.

He appealed to the public to allow the police to do their job, saying that the authorities were doing their utmost.

"There are many cases which we have solved," he said.

He admitted that on many occasions the police had to let criminal suspects go because they did not have sufficient evidence to prosecute them. (07)