Sutanto orders crackdown on gambling dens - Tuesday 12th of July 2005

Newly installed National Police Chief Gen. Sutanto has given a one-week deadline for regional police chiefs to eradicate gambling activities in their respective areas during a meeting held on his first day at work on Monday at the National Police headquarters.

National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Aryanto Boedihardjo said that Sutanto had instructed provincial police chiefs to close all gambling houses and arrest anyone involved in the illegal practice.

"Regional police chiefs or officers who dont comply with police chiefs command would face legal processes," Aryanto said, quoting Sutantos words during the meeting with regional police chiefs across the country.

Aryanto added, police chiefs who failed to clean up their respective areas within a week would be given warnings and possibly replaced. Each provincial police chief signed a contract with Sutanto to achieve this purpose.

His statement came amid allegations that some 14 regional police chiefs were involved in protecting gambling operations.

Sutantos tough policy against gambling was not surprising as he had been known for being tough against the crime when he was posted as chief of police in North Sumatra and East Java.

The four-star general, who was head of the national narcotics agency (BNN) before being appointed as national police chief, has also vowed to fight drug trafficking in Indonesia.

Indonesia is known as a haven for both for drug addicts and traffickers.

"There are around 20 tons of illegal drugs circulating in this country every month as we know that there are around 720,000 drug users and each of them use around 100 milligrams of drugs each day," Aryanto said.

Apart from drugs and gambling, Sutanto also urged police investigators to quickly finish processing graft cases that are currently being handled by National Police headquarters.

There are many unresolved graft cases being handled by the fraud squad at National Police headquarters including the case involving the now-defunct Bank Global, whose top officials have fled abroad, and also a graft case at the State Logistics Agency (Bulog).

As for terrorism, Sutanto has ordered investigators and regional police chiefs to cooperate in capturing terrorist suspects including Azahari bin Husin and Noordin M. Top, who are Malaysian nationals and allegedly the masterminds of a series of bombing incidents in Indonesia.

Aryanto added that the new police chief also planned to fix recruitment processes in the police academy and to increase the quality of recruits entering the police force.

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