National

Medan's big boss Olo
Panggabean passes away

Thousands of people, ranging from civilians, soldiers to political figures, have paid their last respects to Olo Panggabean, a controversial but much-loved figure, at his house on Jl. Sekipin Medan, North Sumatra, as of Friday.

Olo, whose real name was Sahara Oloan Panggabean, was said to be well-connected to a number of high ranking officials in the Indonesian Military (TNI) and National Police (Polri).

The 68 year old died of complications from diabetes at Gleni Hospital in Medan on Thursday, just two days after returning from Mount Elisabeth Hospital in Singapore.

Olo never married, but he adopted many children.

He was a notorious figure, particularly with the police, due to his alleged involvement in gambling practices in Medan.

However, the accusations against him could never be legally proven.

This included when the police raided his "White House" residence in 1999.

Olo was believed to have connections with TNI/Polri figures in Jakarta.

The founder of the Working Youth Association was also said to have close links with several national political figures.

His numerous philanthropic activities earned him the respect, love and loyalty of many people in North Sumatra.

In 2005, he sent conjoined twins to Gleneagles Hospital in Singapore for an operation.

The operation to separate them was successful.

The twins - Anggi and Anjeli - continue to thrive in their village in Simalungun regency.

Jumari, one of Olo's relatives, said Friday the deceased was close to the local people and was always willing to help them, but he rarely made public appearances.

Olo only publicly appeared for certain occasions, such as his birthday.

Thousands of flower arrangements were sent to his house each year on Olo's birthday.

"Despite the fact he had high-ranking friends, Olo did not want to show off in public," Jumari said.

"His presence could be felt, but not touched."

His body will be buried at his family cemetary in Taman Eden in Tanjung Morawa, Medan, on Saturday afternoon.

His parents, Friedolin Panggabean and Esther Hutabarat, who died during his childhood, were also buried there.

Olo, the ninth of 10 children, was born in Simason, Pahae Julu district, in North Tapanuli regency.

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