11 November 2008

Hercules detained over attack in Indonesia

Dicky Christanto The Jakarta Post 11/11/2008 10:57 AM - Police arrested infamous Timor Leste-born gang leader last week over an attack, an official said Monday.

West Jakarta Police crime detective unit head Comr. Suyudi Arioseto said Hercules was arrested along with seven other men allegedly involved in the attack.

He said Hercules and his colleagues were named as suspects and detained at the West Jakarta Police headquarters for further questioning.

"Even though he keeps telling us that he was not there for the attack, we have evidence to suggest he is a suspect," Arioseto said.

The seven other men have been identified as Edy Turangga, Kimung, Ojen, Budianto, Arlito, Abel and Feri Kili-Kili. Arioseto said the police were still looking for six other suspects -- identified as Bobby, Yorim, Bahrul, Panji, Riri and Marathon -- who managed to escape arrest.

According to local media reports, the attack was launched at Menara Peninsula Hotel in West Jakarta after a discussion over a personal debt problem between two business colleagues, Abraham Sugeng and Budianto.

After hours of endless discussion, Budianto, who came to the hotel with seven other guys, was apparently disappointed with the meeting's result, so he ordered to have Sugeng beaten.

The group also reportedly punched Benny Santoso Pandiangan, a police officer who happened to be on site and tried to stop the group from chasing Sugeng earlier.

Joao Meco, one of Hercules' lawyers, denied the police accusation, saying that Hercules was familiar with the guys who were with Budianto, but he was not there to attack Sugeng.

"In fact, he was there to mediate the conflicting parties to avoid further damage. So why are the police naming him as a suspect in this case?" he said.

He said he was now preparing material and evidence to request a pretrial hearing, adding that the police did not have enough evidence to arrest his client.

Arioseto said, however, the police was confident that they had enough evidence.

"We have managed to secure evidence that leads to Hercules' significant role behind the attack. We are ready to prove it before the court."

Hercules has long been recognized as a leader of a gang that ruled Jakarta's biggest textile market in Tanah Abang, Central Jakarta.

Over the last five years, however, Hercules' role in Tanah Abang in particular and Jakarta in general has waned. A newer generation of gangs have replaced Hercules.

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