Indonesian police uncover plot to kill government leaders

A mob seen in the background amid scattered rocks on the street during a violent overnight demonstration near the building housing the election supervisory agency Bawaslu in Jakarta last Wednesday. Riots in the capital claimed the lives of eight peop
A mob seen in the background amid scattered rocks on the street during a violent overnight demonstration near the building housing the election supervisory agency Bawaslu in Jakarta last Wednesday. Riots in the capital claimed the lives of eight people and injured more than 700 others. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

They name three hired killers among six new suspects linked to Jakarta violence last week

Indonesia's national police have named six new suspects linked to the violence in Jakarta last week, including three who were paid to kill high-profile state officials.

National police spokesman Mohammad Iqbal revealed at a media conference yesterday that two of the suspects, identified only as HK and TJ, were ordered in March to murder two national leaders, and later in April to kill another two state officials.

Police declined to identify the intended targets.

For his role, HK was paid 150 million rupiah (S$14,300) and TJ received 25 million rupiah, he added.

Inspector-General Iqbal told reporters that the people behind the plots had intended to use the murders to destabilise the country.

He said his team has established the identity of the mastermind, but he declined to elaborate as investigations are ongoing.

"We are digging deeper into the case and will provide updates later," he added.

 
 
 

Mr Iqbal said another suspect, identified as AZ, had received instructions in April to kill the head of a local polling company in exchange for 5 million rupiah.

Police described the three men as "professionals".

Two other suspects, one of whom is a woman, were allegedly involved in selling guns, some of which were illegal, to the three men involved in the murder plots.

The last suspect was not involved in the murder plots.

"The hired killers are highly professional and experienced," Mr Iqbal said.

The news yesterday came in the wake of an ongoing investigation that exposed the role of the six in last week's violence around the capital, home to around 10 million people.

A series of peaceful protests that broke out in Jakarta, after the elections commission on May 21 announced official results which showed President Joko Widodo had defeated challenger Prabowo Subianto in the April 17 presidential election, escalated into riots that claimed the lives of eight people and injured more than 700 others.

The national police had described the street violence as a coordinated strike and "an event by design".

They said that it was planned by the rioters using WhatsApp chat groups.

As of Sunday, at least 452 rioters had been arrested, including men from neighbouring provinces Banten and West Java, as well as West Nusa Tenggara.

They were armed with metal arrows, sickles, Molotov cocktails and firecrackers during clashes with thousands of police officers that dragged on for hours.

The violence resulted in the city being paralysed by road diversions, the suspension of transportation services and the forced closure of business centres.

 
 

Police said the riots involved paid thugs and possible domestic militants loyal to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Investigators found on some of the suspects white envelopes containing cash of between 200,000 rupiah and 500,000 rupiah.

Mr Iqbal said that the police and the Indonesian Armed Forces have continued to deploy around 40,000 officers in Jakarta to ensure security in the capital.

The Straits Times yesterday spotted troops guarding key government buildings, such as the election supervisory agency Bawaslu, the Constitutional Court and ministries located around the state palace.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 28, 2019, with the headline 'Indonesian police uncover plot to kill government leaders'. Print Edition | Subscribe