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Prabowo backs gang boss
in thuggery case

The usual suspect: Police arrest former crime lord Hercules Rozario Marshal in Srengseng, West Jakarta, last Friday. Hercules and 49 of his followers have been charged with extortion and illegal firearm possession. (Kompas/Lasti Kurnia)
The usual suspect: Police arrest former crime lord Hercules Rozario Marshal in Srengseng, West Jakarta, last Friday. Hercules and 49 of his followers have been charged with extortion and illegal firearm possession. (Kompas/Lasti Kurnia)

The usual suspect: Police arrest former crime lord Hercules Rozario Marshal in Srengseng, West Jakarta, last Friday. Hercules and 49 of his followers have been charged with extortion and illegal firearm possession. (Kompas/Lasti Kurnia)

In what may look like emotional outpouring, the Great Indonesia Movement (Gerindra) Party’s chief patron, Prabowo Subianto, is defending former crime lord Hercules Rozario Marshal in the latter’s latest criminal case.

The former commander of the Special Forces Command (Kopassus), with whom Hercules said he had an emotional connection with when the two met during the Timor Leste conflict, said on Tuesday that Hercules had pledged to change his bad behavior.

“It is true that Hercules has a [bad] image but he can change it, and he has pledged to do so,” Prabowo told the press after meeting with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at the Presidential Palace on Monday. “I hope he keeps his promise. Besides, Hercules has done many good things lately.”

Prabowo denied that his ties with Hercules would be utilized to help the latter in his legal proceedings. “If Hercules has done something wrong, he must be like a knight who faces all the consequences,” he said.

Hercules, who moved from Timor Leste to Jakarta in the 1980s, made Prabowo, president Soeharto’s former son in-law, the head of the advisory board of the New Indonesian People’s Movement (GRIB), which he established in May of last year.

Although Hercules has denied that there is a link connecting GRIB and Gerindra, his movement has been aimed at mobilizing mass support for presidential aspirant Prabowo.

Hercules and 49 of his associates were named suspects last Saturday for their alleged involvement in a fight with police in Kebon Jeruk Indah, West Jakarta, the day before.

They are currently being separately detained in six jails, namely at the Jakarta Police headquarters and at the North, East, South, West and Central Jakarta police stations, Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Rikwanto told reporters on Monday.

Only Hercules and one fellow detainee, whom Rikwanto did not identify, are being detained at the police headquarters.

Those arrested are likely to face multiple charges under Articles 160, 170 and 214 of the Criminal Code for incitement, violence and resisting arrest, carrying maximum sentences of 18 years’ imprisonment.

Meanwhile, Hercules is facing an additional charge for the illegal possession of a firearm, breaching the 1951 Emergency Law, which carries a maximum penalty of death or 20 years in prison.

Rikwanto said investigators were holding a “marathon of questioning sessions” with Hercules and the other suspects in regard to the unlicensed gun possession.

“The FN gun we found was produced by PT Pindad [state arms producer], along with 27 bullets and two full magazine clips,” Rikwanto said. “We are coordinating with several parties to understand how, where and when he got the item and for what it was used.”

The clash broke out when the suspects allegedly tried to provoke a fight with police personnel who had been dispatched to guard the area after reports that Hercules and his men were actively engaged in
extortion there.

Hercules’ gang picked a fight with officers at around 4 p.m., breaking windows in stores nearby and attacking a police vehicle.

When the men returned about one hour later carrying weapons, the police immediately took action and detained them.

Detectives raided Hercules’ house after the arrests and swept the area for evidence, confiscating four machetes, a bow and arrows, seven daggers, two replica guns, the FN pistol, a slingshot, 27 bullets and two magazine clips.

The police also found an intelligence identification card in the car of one of Hercules’ associates, which police said was fake and was used to “intimidate people”. The name on the card read, “Franky Hercules”.

On Monday, several of Hercules’ associates also visited him, either to give him support, food or medicine, including close friend and gang leader Daud Kei.

Besides the clash, Hercules and his men were also reported to the West Jakarta Police for extortion, during which they would tell their victims that the money was for security.

Rikwanto said that two companies in the area had reported him for extortion totaling at least Rp 100 million (US$10,328) over the past several months. “We have the report and evidence of this.” (fzm)

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