John Kei. (Antara/Dhoni Setiawan)Lawyers of gang leader John Kei stated that their client had never planned to murder businessman Tan Harry Tantono, hence the premeditated murder charges were irrelevant.
Head of John's legal team, Indra Sahnun Lubis, said what happened on Jan. 26 at a room hotel in Sawah Besar, Central Jakarta, was purely spur of the moment.
Indra revealed that the murder came about after a clash between John and Harry because the businessman, - also known as Ayung - spat on John when he tried to collect the fees for his debt-collecting services, which amounted to Rp 200 million (US$20,883).
According to Lubis, John was insulted and attacked Ayung.
“However, John was out of the room when Ayung was killed. So John is not involved in the murder,” Lubis told judges at the South Jakarta District Court.
The lawyer added that John was furious when he received a phone call from one of his aides, who happened to bring a knife to the meeting, informing him that he had killed Ayung, tribunnews.com reported.
“John was very angry about the murder and ordered his aides to surrender themselves to the police,” Lubis said.
At the Tuesday's hearing, Lubis and his colleagues asked the judges to strike out the premeditated murder charge against their client.
The lawyers also complained over the tight security during the hearing. Around 650 officers from the Jakarta Police, Central Jakarta Police and Gambir Police were deployed to guard the hearing.
“The security was requested by the court.” Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Rikwanto said.
The security measurement, according to Rikwanto, was planned to overcome a probable riot, because there were rumors that other gang group in Jakarta had planned to attend the hearing.
Recently, members of John Kei’s gang were involved in a brawl over land dispute with members of a rival gang, led by former crime lord Hercules Rozario Marshal, in Cengkareng, West Jakarta. One man was shot by police during the incident. Jakarta Police have so far named 99 members of Kei's gang as suspects.(aml/riz)