Thu, 11 Mar 1999

Residents attack police officers during drug raid

JAKARTA (JP): Four detectives from the City police narcotics unit were wounded by residents of Tanah Abang during a raid on a suspected drug dealer's house on Jl. Baturaja in Central Jakarta in the early hours of Wednesday.

One of the injured officers, a second sergeant, suffered serious injuries and was rushed to Soekanto Police Hospital in East Jakarta.

The three other officers were treated for light wounds at the city police health clinic.

Police and witnesses said that the four plainclothes officers were attacked by the residents with stones and sharp weapons after the arrested drug dealer screamed for help, calling the officers thieves.

With the help of a low-ranking member of the Presidential Guard unit, identified as Cpl. Ateng, the suspected drug dealer, identified as Rudi, alias John, managed to escape, police said.

Another team of police officers -- led by Jakarta Police narcotics chief Lt. Col. Abdullah -- was deployed immediately to the scene to calm down the mob and to arrest Rudi.

However, the suspect is still at large.

According to Jakarta Police detective chief Col. Alex Bambang Riatmojo, who also arrived at the scene, the area is one of the city's most active drugs area.

"We've been surveilling the area for a long time and the four officers were there to make an arrest," Alex said.

The incident took place at around 1:30 a.m. when the four officers, traveling in a green Kijang van, arrived at the house on Jl. Baturaja believed by the police to be owned by Rudi.

"Rudi was inside the house and was placed under arrest and taken to the officers' Kijang van. But he repeatedly shouted 'thief', which caused nearby residents to rush to the house with stones and sharp weapons in their hands," Rudi's niece, Ria Akmari, who was summoned for questioning in the case, said.

She asserted that her widower uncle was not a drug dealer.

He sometimes earned money by helping friends sell or buy used cars, Ria said.

According to Capt. Heru, who led the raid on Rudi's house, the mob continued to beat them after they had identified themselves as police officers.

"We believe they heard my subordinates shout 'police,'" Heru said.

While the officers were being attacked by the mob, Cpl. Ateng, who reportedly was wearing a combat uniform and sitting at a nearby food stall, assisted Rudi, who had already been handcuffed.

Ateng then helped Rudi to escape, Heru said.

"We told him that we were police officers and he should help us, but he ignored us and kept on running," Heru said.

The residents dispersed only after one of the officers was beaten unconscious.

During a search of Rudi's house, police found 500 grams of putaw (low-grade heroin), a few grams of marijuana, an air rifle and two hunting knives, Alex said.

One of the knives was found inside a white Toyota Corona sedan bearing diplomatic license plates parked in the garage. (emf)