'Britain's worst rapist' tarnishes Indonesia's global reputation: Cabinet Secretary

For more than two-and-a-half years, Reynhard Sinaga prowled the bars and restaurants in the heart of Manchester, targetting young male victims who were out drinking. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM YOUTUBE

DEPOK (West Java) - 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 Reynhard's crimes, saying that he had tarnished Indonesia's global reputation.

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

Reynhard'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 two-and-a-half years, Reynhard prowled the bars and restaurants in the heart of Manchester, targetting 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 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 then went on to do a PHD 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 Reynhard is an alumnus, has distanced itself from his "insolent, illegal and inhumane" acts and expressed sympathy for the victims.

Reynhard belongs to the Batak community and they have also condemned him, saying his actions had brought them hurt and shame, the Jakarta Post reported.

Mr Lamsiang Sitompul, the chairman of the Horas Bangso Batak community, said his 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 on Dahlia road in Depok, 45km south Jakarta, were shocked on Tuesday as journalists and cameramen descended on their neighbourhood, taking photos of the Sinaga mansion, the largest property in the area, and asking questions about Reynhard, whom most if not all of the residents never met.

"I had no idea when they asked about Reynhard. I looked up his name on Youtube and saw there were many videos about his case there. That was only when I realised what had happened. We should not bother. It's their problem. Let's respect their privacy," housewife Ms Dewi Abraham, who is in her 50s, told The Straits Times.

Her husband, private security officer Mr Abraham Jonatans, said that Reynhard came from a well-respected family and his low-profile father was somewhat sociable, attending a few gatherings in the neighbourhood. Mr Abraham is a community leader on Dahlia road.

"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, who was among a select group of neighbours invited in September 2019 to a reception to mark the launching of a complex, owned by the family and located next to their residence. Depok mayor Mohammad Idris Abdul Shomad was an honorary guest to the reception.

The complex, which comprises of two buildings with a total capacity of 2,750 people, has been rented out for wedding receptions. A funeral home is being constructed behind one of the buildings.

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

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