Tue, 16 Aug 1994

Six airport porters arrested for stealing luggage

JAKARTA (JP): Police have captured six porters and two fences specializing in baggage theft at the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport over the past two weeks.

All six porters worked for PT Jakadara, the sole firm entrusted with moving baggage from planes' storage sections to the luggage retrieval belts at the airport.

"We are continuing the investigation to check whether other employees of the company were also involved in the theft," City Police spokesman Lt. Col. Latief Rabar said yesterday.

PT Jakadara employs around 300 porters.

According to Latief, the six usually stole passengers' property in the plane's baggage hold while unloading the luggage from the plane.

Police identified the six suspected porters as Ramli, 29, a resident of Duri Kosambi, West Jakarta; Waludin, 28, a resident of Jatinegara, East Jakarta; Sudjimin, 27, a resident of Cilandak, South Jakarta; Deden Jaelani, 21, a resident of Pengadegan, South Jakarta; Firdaus, 25, and Eddy Mulyadi, 20. The addresses of the latter, who were captured Sunday evening, were not disclosed.

Aside from the six, on Wednesday the police arrested the two fences who allegedly bought the stolen goods. The fences were identified as Tjong Po Sie, alias David, 34, a resident of Jl. Raya Kedoya, West Jakarta, and Ricky Viktor Liem, 25, a resident of Taman Dutamas, West Jakarta.

Latief said police began their investigation into the theft after receiving complaints from Merpati airlines that two of its passengers, identified as Mrs. Sahra and Mrs. Siregar, had lost their baggage at the Cengkareng airport on July 12 and July 20 respectively.


Mrs. Sahra, who flew from Ujungpandang, South Sulawesi, to Jakarta reportedly lost jewelry valued in the tens of millions of rupiah from her bag.

Mrs. Siregar, who flew from Palembang, South Sumatra, to Jakarta reported to the airline company that she had lost jewelry and a dozen other items, including a camera, pens and two bottles of perfume, worth a total of Rp 20 million (US$9,310) from her bags.

Both have received compensation for their losses from Merpati.

After receiving the reports, police conducted an investigation and determined that the thefts must have occurred between the unloading process and the transferring of the baggage via vehicles to the baggage retrieval room.

Three days later they captured porters Ramli and Waludin who were on duty on July 12 and July 20.

During the ensuing interrogation, Ramli and Waludin admitted to having committed the theft. They told the police that theft was a common practice among the many porters. They said they simply rummaged through unlocked baggage while doing the unloading.

Sometimes, they said, they had even broken the locks.

Police then developed the investigation and arrested the rest of the suspects, including David and Ricky. Police confiscated jewelry worth tens of millions of rupiah from the suspects.

Police believe such thefts have been going on for quite some time. They are urging the public to report any thefts of luggage or from their baggage immediately, so that they can eliminate the illegal practice. (jsk)