Police flex muscles in Kalijodo
The Jakarta Post
The city administration and the Jakarta Police are apparently taking it in turns to throw their weight around over red-light district Kalijodo, which stretches between the West Flood Canal and the Krendang River in North and West Jakarta.
While the administration is plotting to evict the district's residents, the Jakarta Police deployed 6,000 joint personnel on Saturday morning to raid cafÃ©s and brothels in the 1.6-hectare area.
Police personnel decked out in their iconic 'Turn Back Crime' t-shirts combed the cafÃ©s one by one, while officers equipped with antiriot devices guarded the area, including Jl.Tubagus Angke, which was closed off for the operation.
A police officer mounted on a pick-up truck claimed via megaphone that the officers were not there to evict residents or tear down buildings.
'This is not an eviction. We wish simply to search for alcohol, drugs and weapons, to make this area safe and peaceful,' announced the officer.
Jakarta Police chief Insp. Gen. Tito Karnavian led in person a raid on Kafe Intan, a cafÃ© owned by Abdul Azis, who is said to be a local crime lord.
The place, however, was deserted. 'Many cafÃ© owners and gang members had left the area,' Tito said as quoted by kompas.com.
With previous efforts to clear Kalijodo having failed, the city administration revived the eviction scheme following a crash that killed four people on Feb. 8. The driver was reportedly drunk, having consumed copious quantities of alcohol in Kalijodo beforehand.
Since the plan to clear the area was revived, many residents, including sex workers, have left the area, while others in possession of Jakarta IDs have registered for low-cost rental apartments (rusunawa).
Tito said that after the raids the police would deploy personnel to guard the area. 'We will install security posts [in front of Kafe Intan],' he said.
The police have also installed CCTC in four spots in the area in order to identify people coming and going from the neighborhood.
In raids on 66 cafes, the police confiscated enough contraband to fill four trucks. According to police data, the contraband comprised 9,900 bottles of alcohol, 166 packs of condoms and 33 types of weapon, including arrows, catapults, air rifles, hammers and crowbars.
Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Muhammad Iqbal said the police had also detained 17 people ' nine cafÃ© owners, three drug users, two weapon owners and three sex workers.
'We have detained them for further questioning,' he said.
According to Emergency Law no 12/1951, the owners of sharp weapons will be sanctioned with a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
The city administration, for its part, has determined Feb. 29 as the day to evict the denizens of Kalijodo and tear down its buildings. The area will be converted into a park in accordance with its zoning as open green space.
Razman Arif Nasution, a lawyer representing Kalijodo residents, criticized the 'hasty' policy of the city administration, noting that the whole process from informing the residents and issuing eviction notices to execution had been crammed into less than a month, and that the administration had eschewed all dialogue with local residents.
Separately, Jakarta Deputy Governor Djarot Saiful Hidayat said the administration had taken into account the consequences of eviction on residents, and would provide better housing at rusunawa and skill training for the residents and sex workers, allowing them to adopt new professions.
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