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Indonesian govt urged to tighten gun control to curb armed-related violence

Kamis, 21 Juni 2012 17:47 WIB | 2.872 Views
Indonesian govt urged to tighten gun control to curb armed-related violence
(ANTARA)
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Armed robberies and shooting incidents have been reported in Jakarta and other provinces, particularly in Papua and Aceh, over the past few months and this has prompted the security authorities to intensify investigations and street patrols.

From January to June 2012, the Jakarta Metropolitan Police, known as Metro Jaya, reported 32 armed robberies of mini-markets operating 24 hours in the capital city alone.

The robbed mini-markets consisted of 17 Alfa-marts, 10 Indo-marts, four Circle K, and one Alfa-midi. Several people, mostly shopkeepers, were injured in these incidents where robbers used guns in 13 cases, gas in 12, and sharp knives, daggers, and samurai swords in seven cases.

"The police successfully dealt with 14 cases and arrested 11 suspects," Metro Jaya`s spokesman, Senior Commissioner Rikwanto, said in Jakarta recently.

Besides mini-markets, gold and jewelry shops have also often become targets of armed robberies, particularly in Jakarta and surrounding areas such as Bekasi (West Java Province) and Tangerang (Banten Province).

In February 2012, eight robbers armed with guns broke into a shopping complex and took jewelry from four goldsmiths at the Ciputat market, South Tangerang. These eight men appeared on four motorcycles, went straight to the goldsmiths, pointed their guns and broke the shop windows with a hammer, taking all the jewelry.

The Jakarta police, on June 8, shot two illegal weapon sellers - Teten and Doni - in Cipacing area, West Java province.

"These two people were suspected of selling weapons to robbers around the area. We were able to trace them after arresting a robber in Ciputat area, Banten province," Rikwanto said earlier.

The Jakarta police`s General Crimes Directorate Chief, Senior Commissioner Toni Harmanto, noted that Teten had been manufacturing illegal weapons, while Doni had links with some robbers.

The police also seized five illegal FN and Magazen weapons, 156 sharp bullets, two computers and several other items that were used to manufacture weapons.

In January, police in Bekasi district, West Java, seized 11 firearms and 225 grams of crystal methamphetamine (shabu-shabu) hidden in a 12-kg gas cylinder.

"We seized the contraband from PT Bejana Agung Wiratama gas cylinder workshop at Pantai Makmur village, Tarumajaya subdistrict, Bekasi district, at around 03.30 p.m.," Chief of the Bekasi police resort, Chief Commissioner Wahyu Hadiningrat, said.

When the gas cylinder`s valve was removed, two bullets measuring 9 millimeters each were found inside the canister. Officers of the precinct later delivered the gas cylinder to the Gegana bomb-defusing squad at the Jakarta metropolitan police. The gas cylinder was modified to hold 11 FN guns and revolvers, 162 bullets and 225 grams of shabu-shabu worth Rp4 billion.

According to the Indonesia Police Watch (IPW), in May the Indonesian Police (Polri) issued civilian ownership licenses for 18,030 guns.

Based on the existing regulation, Polri was supposed to issue firearm ownership licenses for 2,608 guns only to civilians in 2012. "But the fact is that Polri issued 18,030 gun licenses," IPW Presidium Chairman Neta S Pane said.

IPW regretted that Polri issued so many civilian gun licenses. This year, Polri has violated the government regulation by exceeding the existing limit by almost 700 percent, Pane said.

In line with the Government Regulation No. 50/2010 on the Non-Tax State Revenues (PNPB), the government charges Rp1 million per civilian gun license.

The government has a target for receiving revenues worth Rp2,608,425,000, for issuing licenses for firearms and explosives to civilians, as stated in Law No. 22/2011 on the State Budget (APBN) 2012.

It means that Polri is allowed to issue 2,608 licenses to civilians. The fact, however, is that Polri has issued 18,030 permits and received revenues worth around Rp18 billion, Pane explained.

"A total of Rp2.6 billion has to be deposited in the state treasury, so where is the remaining Rp15.4 billion? Where is the money?" he asked.

The IPW has thus urged the State Audit Agency (BPK) and the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) to conduct an investigation into this matter.

Under Indonesia`s gun laws, only citizens employed in select professions can be issued a gun permit. Among those allowed to legally carry guns in Indonesia are doctors, public officials, lawmakers, members of the military and police, and corporate heads.

However, data from the National Police shows that there were 453 cases which dealt with possession of illegal firearms between the years 2009 to 2011.

Therefore, Polri has been under intense scrutiny for issuing firearms to the wrong people. Politicians and activists have demanded tighter gun-controls following the rise in firearm-related violence across the country.

Poengky Indarti, the Executive Director of human rights watchdog Imparsial, urged the government and the House of Representatives to amend the law on the control of firearms and explosives, audit all firearms in the country and strengthen supervision and control.

The People`s Consultative Assembly Deputy Speaker, Lukman Hakim Saifuddin, called on the police to seize all firearms belonging to civilians, including lawmakers, businessmen and lawyers.

"It`s better to collect all the firearms from the hands of civilians," he told the media recently.

In Papua Province, where shooting incidents by unidentified people often occurred, the Indonesian Papuan University Students Movement (GMPI) requested the local police to audit gun ownership by civilians.

The security authorities must address security problems by establishing an inventory of firearms ownership in Papua, GMPI Chairman Habelino S Sawaki said in Jayapura, Papua, recently.

Sawaki suspects that guns have been smuggled into Papua over the Papua and Papua New Guinea border. The border stretches over 800 kilometers and is only guarded by four battalions of soldiers.

Meanwhile, the district military commander of Indonesia`s National Defense Force (TNI), Lieutenant Colonel Christian Tehuteru, in Timika, Mimika District, Papua, suspects that Timika is being used as a gateway for the distribution of guns as well as ammunition by several groups.

"Seeing the mode of operation developing lately, it is clear that Timika is a gateway for several specific groups who have been smuggling illegal goods, such as weapons and ammunition, because they have been caught several times during arms raids," Tehuteru said recently.

The Timika police are still investigating the case where two people smuggled in several ammunition rounds into Timika through the Gorong- gorong terminal on Sunday, May 20, he noted.

In Papua, in 2011, there were at least 13 shooting incidents that killed, among others, seven employees of US gold and copper mining company PT Freeport Indonesia, and five other civilians were injured. Also, two members of the Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) and one police officer were wounded.

In 2010, 28 people were victims of gunshot wounds. This included 20 employees, two military officers and four police members.

Over the last several months, Papua has seen random mysterious shootings in various locations that killed at least 16 people, including a civil servant and police officers, and injured a number of others, including a German tourist.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, during a recent cabinet meeting, asked Chief Security Minister Djoko Suyanto to examine the cause of problems in Papua that have led to a number of violent acts.
(T.F001/INE/KR-BSR)