The Straits Times
Published on Feb 15, 2013

Street raiders pounce to end Jakarta's monkey business


JAKARTA (AFP) - Squatting near a busy traffic junction in the Indonesian capital Jakarta, monkey-handler Takiadi tugs at the long-tailed macaque at the end of the leash he is clutching. The movement jolts the skinny, apparently playful, animal to stretch out its hands to passers-by and beg for alms.

It is a common scene in the city, but taking up such a visible spot is becoming increasingly risky for shabbily dressed Takiadi, 27, who was born and bred in Jakarta and has been working as a monkey handler for five years.

Days earlier, he narrowly escaped arrest after officers swooped as part of a new push to stop widespread cruelty to the animals.

"Public-order officers appeared out of the blue as I was putting a doll's mask over the monkey's face. I managed to run away, but my monkey was confiscated. I have to be more careful now," Mr Takiadi told AFP, gripping tightly on his new monkey's chain.