Sun, 23 Jan 2000

Taxi driver and accomplice rape and rob woman passenger

JAKARTA (JP): Nobody expects rape to be hiding in wait for them, whether in a stranger, a neighbor, or any other person.

Ruth, 23, never expected to be raped by the driver of a very unpopular taxi and the man hiding in the trunk of that taxi on Friday evening.

She had been shopping in Melawai shopping complex, South Jakarta, for a souvenir her boss wanted to give to an important client.

"I got into a taxi. It was green with red stripes. I don't remember the name," said the pretty girl, who was sobbing as she narrated this story, her elder brother lightly patting her back.

Sitting in the back seat of the taxi, Ruth, which is not her real name, told the taxi driver she wanted to head home to Permata Hijau, South Jakarta. It was approximately 7 p.m. at the time.

"Suddenly the back seat gave way, and this man came out. I didn't know that there was space between the trunk and the back seat. How was I supposed to know that there was some man hiding in the taxi's trunk?"

Ruth's fear grew as the driver accelerated to approximately 100 kilometers per hour.

Asked what happened next, Ruth froze. When asked if she was then raped, she looked straight ahead, staring with wide eyes, as if she could see it happening before her.

"The man from the trunk raped me. I was a virgin," she said, before breaking into heart-wrenching sobs.

Ruth said that the baggage trunk rapist and the driver took turns raping her. By that time, the driver had driven to Bojong Gede in Bogor, West Java.

"I tried fighting. One man, I don't know which one, injured my right thigh and my forehead in the process. After all that they did, they searched my purse and took whatever money they could find. It was my bad luck that they also found my Citibank ATM card," she said.

The rapist driver took Ruth to Pasar Rebo in East Jakarta looking for a Citibank ATM, then to T.B. Simatupang and Lebak Bulus in South Jakarta, and finally to Puri Indah Mall in Kebon Jeruk, West Jakarta.

"I was raped on the way. When we reached Puri Indah, they told me to get the money out of the ATM. The ATM worked and I got the money out, whatever it was they asked. It was millions... I don't know."

Both rapists then blindfolded her eyes, tied her legs and hands, and threw her out of the taxi onto a deserted road at about 2 a.m. on Saturday.

Ruth was too exhausted to describe how she got from that road, to her home in Permata Hijau.

The police officer who took Ruth's statement was highly polite and very sensitive to the victim's feelings, but he was male. The Women's Desk division at the precinct was closed during the time Ruth reported her case to the police, at about 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.

The officer who took Ruth's statement later noted that all city residents are urged not to sit in any unpopular taxi which does not have the taxi ID card and number posted across the front passenger seat.

"When sitting in such an unpopular taxi, check the front and back seats and the trunk. In fact, do not sit in those taxis." (ylt)