JAKARTA (AFP) - Seven Indonesians were hospitalised after rinsing their hands in acid, police said on Tuesday (Nov 28) as they hunted for the self-styled sorcerer who promised the men it would make them invincible.
The bizarre ritual last week left the men, residents of the Rawa Kopi village just outside the capital Jakarta, with serious burns on their hands, authorities said.
A mystery man named Didi, who moved into the village several months ago, claimed he was a master of traditional magic - known as Debus - which is supposed to protect a person from physical injury.
The self-proclaimed magician offered free lessons and promised to make the unlucky men invincible.
"These men were trying to become invincible with a man who claimed to be a 'guru'," local police chief Harry Kurniawan said on Tuesday.
To test that promise, Didi suggested that the men rinse their hands in a chemical that police believe was acid.
It was not long before the men were rushed to hospital with severe burns, police chief Kurniawan added.
The self-styled guru fled shortly after the group was hospitalised. He could face five years in prison if convicted of negligence leading to injury.
Two men have since been discharged while the other five remain under treatment.
Sorcerers and faith healers are common in Indonesia, a vast archipelago nation in South-east Asia, where many people remain deeply superstitious despite black magic being outlawed.