Sat, 27 Sep 2003

Robber gang targeting taxi passengers busted

Damar Harsanto The Jakarta Post Jakarta

Police said on Friday that they had captured three taxi drivers and charged them with robbing their passengers.

"The suspects have committed at least eight robberies in several places across the city," said Adj. Sr. Comr. Tito Karnavian, a senior detective at city police headquarters.

One of the suspects, Maruli P. Harahap, was captured at 9:30 p.m. on Sep. 12 at room 120 of the Classic Hotel on Jl. KH. Samanhudi, Central Jakarta.

The remaining two suspects, Muhamad Ali Zulkifli, alias Ali and also known as Ayi, and Rudi Hartono, alias Rudi or Alex, were arrested at 10:30 p.m. on Wednesday at the Ancol berth, North Jakarta.

Police confiscated from Maruli a woman's wrist watch branded Alexandre Christie and two receipts on the payment of jewelry from a jewelry counter using a debit card belonging to a victim, Indri Sulistyowati, a resident of Jl. Kirai, Cirende, South Jakarta.

Indri and another victim, Dewi Maulani Sartika were present at the press briefing at police headquarters.

Indri, an employee of a private company at Plaza Kuningan, South Jakarta, told reporters the suspects had taken her hostage for more than four hours on Sep. 8.

"They tied me up and closed my mouth with tape and took me around the city for four hours. They then took away my wallet, and debit cards and asked for their code numbers. They also threatened to kill me with a knife if I gave a wrong code number," Indri told reporters.

Indri suffered Rp 35 million (US$4,166) in losses.

Meanwhile, Dewi, an employee of Bank Mandiri on Jl. Gatot Subroto, South Jakarta, said the suspects punched her in the face to frighten her.

The robbers took her money, jewelry, and a cellphone besides forcing her to withdraw money from her account. She lost Rp 7 million.

To police investigators, Maruli, Koperasi taxi driver, said he and his friends targeted women to minimize the risk the victims would fight back.

Maruli was convicted in a similar robbery case using taxis in 2001. He was sentenced to 2.5 years in jail.