Mon, 04 Sep 2000

Seven injured in FPI attack on Tebet cafes, bars

JAKARTA (JP): Seven people, including four women, were accosted when some 100 members of the Islam Defenders Front (FPI) attacked cafes and bars in Tebet, South Jakarta, on Friday evening, a police officer said on Saturday.

Tebet Police chief of detectives First Insp. Supangat said three men -- Satim, Taat and Kokom -- suffered cuts to their heads during the attack.

He also said three of the women victims, identified as Uum, Iin and Icih, received slight injuries when they attempted to escape from the mob.

FPI members shaved the head of the other woman victim, identified as Tina, the officer said.

According to Supangat, his men had no information on the current status of the victims because the case was still under investigation. He added that police have made no arrests in connection with the attack.

By law, under no circumstances are civilians allowed to conduct such attacks on places of business.

Supangat said at least eight people had been questioned as witnesses in connection with the incident.

He confirmed none of those questioned were from the FPI, but were guests and employees of the Moon Cafe and Bar, one of the establishments on Jl. Dr. Sahardjo which was attacked.

"The FPI members raided the cafes and bars in the area because they suspected those places were allowing activities related to vice to take place inside the buildings," he said.

The seven injured in the attack were released from the hospital after receiving treatment.

Supangat said the victims were accosted as they attempted to flee the building.

During preliminary questioning, the eight witnesses told police investigators they were unsure what was happening when the FPI members first entered the premises.

"They just saw the people were wearing clothes with the acronym FPI printed on them," he said.

Separately, FPI secretary Reza Pahlevi confirmed the attack on Friday was the work of the organization's members.

"We observed the area previously and later identified several bars and cafes as our target since these places were used for vice activities," Reza told The Jakarta Post over the phone on Saturday.

But he denied any of the members were involved in violence, adding the police had yet to contact him about the matter.

"I'll check the information. And if we find some people were injured during the raid, we'll look into whether the attackers were really FPI members," Reza said.

He said he suspected several local residents took part in the raids.

But Reza added he could understand the anger of the FPI members, since the organization had issued at least three warning letters to the owners of the nightspots prior to the raid.

"FPI members have been monitoring Cafe Kawanua on Jl. Dr. Sahardjo because it has been raided three times but has persisted in resuming its vice activities," he said.

Reza said the organization did not believe the public disapproved of its activities, saying that only the operators of establishments involved in illegal activities opposed the FPI's raids because they could harm their businesses.

"We have to differentiate the public reaction. Those who oppose our actions are those who have been linked with vice, such as drinking, drugs and prostitution," he said. (lup)