Fri, 11 Jun 2004

Top shuttler accused of assault

Evi Mariani, Jakarta

Badminton star Taufik Hidayat will be questioned as a suspect by Jakarta Police for allegedly assaulting a driver at the Bung Karno Sports Complex in Senayan, Central Jakarta, during the Thomas and Uber Cup badminton team championships in May.

"The police will summon him for questioning soon," city police spokesman Sr. Comr. Prasetyo said on Thursday.

Taufik is accused of violating Article 352 of the Criminal Code on minor assault. The offense carries a maximum sentence of three months imprisonment.

The shuttler, who will turn 23 in August, was reported to the police after an incident on May 10 at the gate of the East Parking Lot of the sports complex involving Jacky Darmawan. Jacky is the driver of Ahmad Kalla.

Jacky had just paid the parking fee at the entrance and had already driven on when he heard the parking attendant call him back. He reversed and accidentally hit Taufik's front bumper.

Upon seeing the dent in his bumper, Taufik got out of the car to admonish Jacky. The two quarreled before Taufik punched Jacky in the face.

Jacky got into the car and started to drive on to avoid further violence but Taufik ran in front of the car and banged his fist on the hood, Jacky said.

Taufik himself told The Jakarta Post by phone that he knew nothing about the police statement.

"I have not received a summons from the police. They know where to find me ... I'm always at the National Badminton Center (in Cipayung, East Jakarta)," he said. "However, this problem has been handled by Pak Chairul."

The Badminton Association of Indonesia (PBSI) chairman, Chairul Tanjung, had earlier asked the press not to exaggerate the incident.

It was the third time Taufik had been involved in a brawl. The previous two incidents occurred last year.

The most recent was when Taufik and father Aries Hidayat were involved in a fistfight with a group of men in Senayan in October 2003. The brawl was also sparked by a similar car incident, when a reversing minivan bumped into Taufik's car. Taufik and his father yelled at the minivan's driver.

Police said Taufik threw the first punch.

Irked by Taufik's behavior, several men roughed up Taufik and Aries.