'Britain's worst rapist' tarnished Indonesia's name: Cabinet official

Indonesians have expressed their revulsion towards fellow countryman Reynhard Sinaga, who was sentenced to life in prison as Britain's worst rapist earlier this week.

Cabinet Secretary Pramono Agung denounced Sinaga's crimes, saying that he had tarnished Indonesia's global reputation.

Mr Pramono also said that he was concerned about the psychological impact on Sinaga's many victims, adding that the Indonesian government, through its embassy in London, would continue to follow the case and respect the transparent due process of law in Britain.

The rapist's tycoon father, Mr Saibun Sinaga, has said that he accepts the verdict and his son's punishment "fits his crimes".

The Manchester Crown Court on Monday found the 36-year-old guilty of 159 offences, including 136 rapes, with Justice Suzanne Goddard calling him a "dangerous, deeply disturbed and perverted individual with no sense of reality".

For more than 21/2 years, Sinaga prowled the bars and restaurants in the heart of Manchester, targeting young male victims, mostly in their late teens or early 20s, who were out drinking.

He lured them to his nearby Princess Street apartment, drugged them and then raped them. He even filmed the abuses on two mobile phones. His sexual assault spree ended because one victim woke up.

Reynhard Sinaga belongs to the Batak community, which has also condemned him, saying his actions had brought it hurt and shame, The Jakarta Post reported. Mr Lamsiang Sitompul, chairman of the Horas Bangso Batak community, said Sinaga's actions had hurt and shamed the community and that his crimes made it seem like the Bataks were sexual deviants.

Sinaga went to Britain in 2007 to pursue a master's degree in planning and then sociology at The University of Manchester. He graduated in 2011 and went on to do a doctorate in human geography at the University of Leeds.

The news about his crimes shocked many Indonesians, who condemned them as evil and depraved.

The University of Indonesia, where Sinaga is an alumnus, has distanced itself from his "insolent, illegal and inhumane" acts and expressed sympathy for the victims.

Sinaga belongs to the Batak community, which has also condemned him, saying his actions had brought it hurt and shame, The Jakarta Post reported.

Mr Lamsiang Sitompul, chairman of the Horas Bangso Batak community, said Sinaga's actions had hurt and shamed the community and that his crimes made it seem like the Bataks were sexual deviants.

"That is not true, and honestly we are very ashamed of Reynhard Sinaga's actions. His actions do not reflect the behaviour of Batak people," he said.

Residents in Dahlia Road in Depok, 45km south of Jakarta, were shocked on Tuesday as journalists and cameramen descended on their neighbourhood, taking photographs of the Sinaga mansion, the largest property in the area. They were asking questions about Sinaga, whom most of the residents in the area, if not all, had never met.

Private security officer Abraham Jonatans, who is a community leader, said that Sinaga came from a well-respected family and his low-profile father was somewhat sociable, attending a few gatherings in the neighbourhood.

"Reynhard was enrolled in a high-rated junior high school and high school and top university. His father regularly donates to churches," said Mr Abraham.

Some of Sinaga's former junior high school friends have described him as an entertaining person who was nice to be with. The Jakarta-based news website Republika quoted one former classmate as saying that he was effeminate.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 11, 2020, with the headline ''Britain's worst rapist' tarnished Indonesia's name: Cabinet official'. Print Edition | Subscribe