JAKARTA (JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - To ensure security for the 2018 Asian Games, which will see thousands of international athletes and officials descend upon the Indonesian capital, Jakarta Police chief Inspector-General Idham Azis has instructed officers to shoot criminals on sight to fend of street crime, particularly motorcycle thieves and muggers.
"If the muggers fight back (when police officers try to arrest them), chief Idham has instructed us to take firm action by shooting them. (We will have) zero tolerance," Jakarta Police spokesman Senior Commander Argo Yuwono said on Tuesday (July 3).
Argo recalled a recent mugging attempt that took place in the Kota Tua area in West Jakarta, when one of the perpetrators, identified as R, was shot dead by officers.
According to the police, the victim, Public Housing and Works Ministry official Syarif Burhanudin, was riding his bicycle when R reportedly grabbed his fanny pack. Syarif tried to hold on to his bag and fell to the ground.
The police later tracked down R and his partner, but both allegedly fought back during their arrest. R was fatally shot and his accomplice was arrested.
Following that incident, investigators discovered that the two had been part of a network of muggers called Tenda Oranye (Orange Tent) based in Teluk Gong, North Jakarta.
"We've identified the leader of the mugging group," Argo said.
Another robbery that took place on Sunday evening in Cempaka Putih, Central Jakarta, ended in the death of the victim.
The woman, identified as W, was on the back of a motorcycle taxi and reportedly held on to her bag as it was being pulled by a man on a motorbike. She then fell, fatally hitting her head on the road.
Through a statement released on Tuesday, Cempaka Putih Police said they had confiscated several objects as evidence in the case, namely a black bag, a mobile phone, two small wallets containing Rp 1.1 million (S$104) in cash, an umbrella and a comb.
Jakarta Deputy Governor Sandiaga Uno said the recent spate of mugging attempts across the city should be taken seriously.
"These crimes might be triggered by poverty. This is a social phenomenon that can be solved by giving poor families access to ways that can improve their economic situations," he said.
On June 17, several other mugging attempts occurred along Jl. Jendral Sudirman in Central Jakarta. Some of the victims mentioned similar characteristics when describing the perpetrator: a man in all black, wearing a full-face helmet and riding a Honda CBR motorcycle.
A passenger of an app-based motorcycle taxi named Dio said his driver was robbed on June 18.
"There's a motorcycle gang near Sampoerna Strategic Square [on Jl. Jendral Sudirman]. I was shocked and everything happened so fast that I didn't get the chance to pay attention to the mugger's licence plate number," Dio said.
A passerby named Paulina Heras said her phone had been stolen the night before Dio's incident. The robbery occurred as she was walking alone in the nearby Tosari area.
"I filed a report to the Jakarta Police to find out that four other robberies took place that night. Two more incidents happened the following morning," Paulina said.