‘No political motives’ behind ‘Tempo’ news room attack
Sita W. Dewi
The Jakarta Post
Two security guards with the Tempo media group were injured after a group of teenagers vandalized Tempo’s office in Kebayoran Lama, South Jakarta, late on Friday, damaging the office’s glass windows and lobby.
The incident triggered assumptions that there were political motives behind the attack as the media was known for its sharp reports.
However, Tempo.co chief editor Daru Priyambodo, who was at the scene when the incident occurred, played down the assumption, saying that the attack was merely a reckless act by a group of intoxicated teenagers.
“Their eyes looked red and they were very aggressive,” he told The Jakarta Post on Saturday over the telephone. “I assumed that they were drunk when carrying out their acts.”
Daru said that the incident began when a rock was thrown at a canteen located near the office building at around 11 p.m. on Friday night.
According to him, some Tempo staff members who were having dinner at the canteen were startled and immediately checked out the other side of the wall, which separated the office — located in a complex of shop-houses — and a housing complex.
“They then asked the young men across the wall to behave,” he said, adding that the youths reacted angrily and threatened that they would come to the office.
Subsequently, around eight teenagers carrying samurai swords, machetes and wooden sticks came to the office, smashing motorcycles and damaging the office windows and lobby.
One of the attackers shouted a mass organization’s name while damaging the office lobby.
“Some of my colleagues [who were also at the scene] said they heard one of attackers shout the name of a youth organization, FBR. But I think he was only bluffing,” Daru said, referring to the hard-line Betawi Brotherhood Forum.
Two on-duty security guards, Akbar Julianto, 20, and Aris Hermawan, 30, who tried to block the angry youths, were beaten.
Akbar suffered from wounds to his mouth and wrist, while Aris suffered from minor injuries to his temple and back of his head, according to police.
“They were taken to the hospital and are now recovering,” Daru said.
Due to the incident, he estimated that the office lost about Rp 2 million (US$206).
He said Tempo would increase its security despite never having a dispute with locals. He acknowledged, however, that some of the youths who regularly hung out in the vicinity were “troublemakers”.
“I once saw police raiding the place and arresting gamblers,” he recalled.
Police are still investigating the case and have identified three of the eight attackers as of Saturday afternoon.
Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Rikwanto said that the police were pursuing the perpetrators.
“We have not arrested [the perpetrators] yet,” he told the Post.
In July 2010, an office building occupied by Tempo magazine on Jl. Tugu Proklamasi, Central Jakarta, was attacked by unidentified men riding tandem on a motorcycle, hurling Molotov cocktails at the office. Nobody was injured in the attack.
The attack came on the heels of a Tempo magazine cover story on the suspicious bank accounts of several high-ranking police officers. The magazine reported that at least seven high-ranking police officers were allegedly amassing billions of rupiah (tens of millions of US dollar) illegally in their bank accounts. (cor)
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