29 November 2017

Nearly 140 arrested for martial arts and weapons law violations

East Timor Police and community members in Dili.
!WARNING! MACHINE TRANSLATION ORIGINAL PORTUGUESE TEXT LUSA NOVEMBER 10, 2017 07:35 - Nearly 140 young East Timorese are now being heard in Dili District Court after being detained in an operation of the National Police of Timor-Leste (PNTL) against illegal martial arts groups, the police commander told Lusa.

"150 youths, some of whom were minors, have been detained and have since been sent home. 139 of the young people, all over the age of 17, are being presented to the Court," Julio Hornay told Lusa.

"It is alleged elements of ritual and martial arts groups, including group 77, who participated in illegal actions, including oath and training, and were detained in the Taibessi neighborhood of Dili," he explained.

At issue, said Julio Hornay, is the violation of law 5/2017 approved in April by the National Parliament on "the practice of martial arts, rituals, white arms and ambon branch."

The ammunition - arms used at various points in the Indonesian archipelago, including Ambon - are a kind of slingshot with small arrows, blades or arrows, which are used sporadically in some districts of Dili, already causing several wounded and at least one dead.

An internal alert issued by the United Nations mission in Dili in June last year said that ambon rams are used to launch arrows at passersby by young "initiates" in rival martial arts groups.

In this warning the United Nations recommends that additional precautions be taken in some areas of the capital.

Its use was so prevalent last year that the Guido Valadares National Hospital in Dili has at least two rooms several arrows taken from patients who entered the unit, some with serious injuries.

The law passed this year notes that "the practice of martial arts aimed at promoting physical activities and vehicles for the transmission of cultural and ethical values ​​has undeniable social and cultural importance in any society, especially in the young."

However, according to the preamble, "when deviant from the ends that are natural to it, the practice of martial arts can threaten social peace and individual and collective security" and "certain techniques used in the practice and teaching of martial arts pose dangers to health and physical integrity for its practitioners and practitioners. "

The text also states that "in addition to diverting the martial arts from its ends, some segments of society have introduced the use of weapons in the practice of martial arts, of which the ambon dart stands out."

It should be noted that clashes between rival groups of martial arts have caused specific problems in East Timor, being responsible for several deaths and injuries and for the destruction of property.

The authorities note that the actions of these groups represent the greatest security threat in the capital and other areas of the country.

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