Police urged to arrest gambling bosses - Tuesday 12th of July 2005

Observers are calling on the police to start arresting big-time gamblers and raid suspected big gambling dens in order to make the current anti-gambling drive a success.

Legal expert at the University of Indonesia Rudy Satrio claimed that all the police had done thus far was arrest small-time street gamblers and confiscate gambling equipment from small gambling dens while letting their bosses walk free.

He said that owners of large gambling dens smartly closed down their places before police launched operations in order to avoid raids.

"There is no reasons for police not raid already-closed big gambling dens as according to the law they must confiscate any equipment used for crime. They should arrest the owners as well," Rudy told The Jakarta Post.

He said that many people had informed police of the existence of big gambling dens and the identity of their owners.

"So, it becomes a question, why dont arrest these guys? Like grass, police are only cutting the upper parts and leaving the roots untouched. The bosses with their untouched equipment can be back on business at any time," Rudy said.

National Police chief Gen. Sutanto, who has a track record of being very tough on gambling, last Monday gave a one-week ultimatum to provincial police chiefs to eradicate gambling in their respective areas. He warned them that if they did not comply with his order they would be fired and face criminal charges.

City police chief Insp. Gen. Firman Gani quickly ordered his top officers, precinct and sub-precinct chiefs to eradicate gambling in the capital within three days, with the threat that local chiefs who failed to clean up their areas would be relieved of their duties.

Immediately after Firmans order police began cracking down gambling dens in Jakarta. However, no big gambling dens have been raided and no big-time casino operators have been arrested.

Until Friday, some 520 gamblers and gambling dens owners across the Greater Jakarta area had been arrested by police.

Firman proclaimed that they had closed down all the gambling dens in the capital.

Executive director of the Independent Monitoring Alliance on State Apparatus (AMIPKA) David Ridwan Betz said that the police clearly only arrested small-time gamblers as according to their data no big-time operators had been arrested.

"This is a joke. The police already have the identity of the bosses. They should arrest them or reveal their names to public," he said.

David said that he had evidence that Harco Mangga Dua and Glodok in West Jakarta as well as the island of Ayer were being used as gambling centers involving billions of rupiah.

David proposed that the police also conduct internal investigations of corrupt officers to make war against gambling effective.

Meanwhile, City police spokesman Sr. Comr. Tjiptono said that police had experienced difficulty in arresting big-time gambling operators due to lack of proof.

"We just dont have enough evidence to arrest them. To make matters ever harder for us, many of their men are ready to sacrifice themselves by claiming ownership of the gambling dens," he told the Post.

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