National

Three police officers
grilled over sex abuse
allegations

South Sulawesi Police have grilled three of their personnel for the alleged sexual harassment of a university student in Makassar.

The three brigadiers, identified only as AF, AZ and YP, have been questioned since Monday. The three, who used to be in charge of mobile patrols in the city's Tanjung Bunga area, have been suspended from active duty.

South Sulawesi Police chief Insp. Gen. Mathius Salempang said, Tuesday, the three were questioned as witnesses.

"There is a possibility they will be declared suspects along with other officers," he said.

He admitted his subordinates' alleged indiscretions violated existing regulations, in terms of the police code of ethics and profession, and also tended toward a criminal act.

The alleged sexual harassment, believed to have been carried out by six police officers, was uncovered following the circulation of a video recording of the half-naked female student.

In the recording, the policemen were heard ordering the student to undress. The act was recorded on more than one mobile phone.

The incident reportedly occurred last October after the girl was caught having sex with her boyfriend in a car. The police officers, who happened to be patrolling the area, ordered the girl to admit to the misdemeanor. They then checked her genitals and recorded the incident.

In her report to the Makassar Legal Aid Institute (LBH), the victim admitted to having been forced to strip.

"The deputy commander of a nearby police post confiscated her mobile phone and extorted Rp 500,000 *US$45.50* from her," said Fajrini from the LBH.

She added the officers' misconduct violated ethical norms and could be deemed sexual harassment.

The perpetrators also extorted money from the couple and distributed the pornographic recording, even after promising to erase it if the couple paid the money they had demanded, Fajrini said.

She asked the police chief to take stern action against his "ill-mannered" subordinates.

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