Crime gang hitting tourism busted

Fri, 09/12/2008 10:54 AM  I The Jakarta Post |  Bali

The Bali Police crime and detective unit has managed to disable a criminal gang targeting foreign tourists, Crime and Detective Director Sr. Comr. Wilmar Marpaung said.

“The group specializes in foreign tourists at resort areas and has so far carried out their modus operandi 11 times,” Wilmar said.

The police have arrested two of the three members of the gang and are hunting the other one, Wilmar said. The two were identified as Wayan Kontal, 15 and Ketut Merdana, 21.

“The other one is still on the run, identified only by his initial N and believed to be the mastermind,” he said.

Wilmar said that the group had operated over the last two years and made away with millions of rupiah in stolen goods.

A number of items have been confiscated, including a mobile phone, digital cameras, wallet and cash in rupiah and U.S. dollars.

“We haven’t got other evidence, such as laptops or other valuables,” he said.

Wilmar explained that, using their operating techniques, the three used to work together in tourist spots along Kuta, like Jalan Legian, Jalan Poppies, Jalan Padma, Jalan Benesari and Jalan Lebaksari.

The Crime and Violence Division Head Adj. Sr. Comr. Ahmad Nur Wahid said police success in uncovering this operation was based on reports from the public on many cases of theft and snatches, targeting foreign tourists in Kuta.

The 11 crime incidents carried out by the group, Ahmad said, were reported directly by the victims. He believes there are other similar groups capable of working the same spots. “This is only a prediction, but we hope the number is limited,” he said.

Ahmad reiterated that the Bali Police were prepared to work all out to maintain security around Kuta.

“We suggest that tourists should not bring with them valuables when enjoying their holidays. Just bring basic things you need,” he said.

Claiming to have joined the criminal group only two months ago, arrested suspect Wayan Kontal said he used to operate at night, when tourists were a bit lax.

Apart from snatching, the under-aged boy admitted he also acted as a tourist guide and male hooker. He claimed his clients were tourists from Australia and Japan, but said he never targeted his own customers. — Ni Komang Erviani

About erviani

Jatuh cinta dengan dunia jurnalistik sejak bergabung dengan Lembaga Pers Mahasiswa Indikator, Fakultas Ekonomi Universitas Brawijaya. Sempat bekerja untuk Harian Warta Bali, 2003 - 2005, Koresponden Majalah GATRA untuk wilayah Bali, anggota redaksi Media HIV/AIDS dan Narkoba KULKUL, TPI, dan Koran Seputar Indonesia. Menulis lepas kini menjadi aktivitas keseharian. Kini aktif sebagai kontributor untuk beberapa media yakni Bali Daily-The Jakarta Post, Mongabay Indonesia, dan Khabat Southeast Asia.
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