Police say theyll now crack down on big fish - Tuesday 12th of July 2005

Jakarta police confiscated on Thursday evening gambling equipment from 16 gambling dens across the city, almost two weeks after they vowed to eradicate the practice within three days.

The machines, including those popularly known as the "micky mouse" video arcade game, slot machines called "jackpot" and roulette tables were seen stacked up at the city police headquarters parking lot.

City police chief Insp. Gen. Firman Gani said that since Thursday evening, officers had confiscated some 3,000 gaming devices from large casinos across the city.

"Many people accuse us of not being serious in eradicating gambling because we havent touched big gambling dens. But by confiscating gambling machines in 16 big gambling dens in the capital, weve proved that we mean business," he said.

A police source said some of the gambling machines were taken from casinos owned by Arif Cocong, Fery Gunawan and Kwan Cau in Mangga Besar, West Jakarta, as well as gambling dens owned by Robby Ketek in Ancol, North Jakarta. Others included some gambling centers owned by Jonson in Duta Mas, West Jakarta and the Bonagabe gambling center owned by Aseng in Jatinegara, East Jakarta.

Other machines were taken from Kobacabana and Palem Garden in West Jakarta, owned by A. Tung and Toni Kasogi, respectively as well as from Kalijodo and Jl. Mas Mansyur in Central Jakarta, according to the police source.

Articles 39, 40, 45 of the Criminal Law Procedures Code (KUHAP) stipulate that police can confiscate equipment used for criminal conduct.

National Police chief Gen. Sutanto gave two weeks ago a one-week deadline for 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.

Firman quickly ordered his top officers, municipality and subdistrict chiefs to eradicate gambling in the capital within three days with the threat that if there was a single report of gambling in any area, the respective area chief would be relieved of their duties.

Immediately after Firmans order police began cracking down on some gambling in Jakarta. They announced that they had arrested over 500 suspects, including players, bookies and managers.

However, many people complained that none of the large casinos had been raided and no big-time gamblers had been arrested.

Firman said on Friday that police did not arrest any gambling owners as they could only arrest people who were caught in the act of gambling.

"We havent arrested the owners, because according to the law, we must have hard evidence to be able to arrest people. He or she must be caught in the middle of the game at the gambling site with his or her gambling equipment," he said.

Article 303 of the Criminal Code stipulates that it requires players, evidence and the bet available in order to arrest gambling operators.

Firman promised that the police would arrest any owner who dared to reopen their gambling sites again.

"We are now counting the real number of machines. After that, we will hand over all the machines to the court so that they can be destroyed," Firman said.

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