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Jakarta Post

Bike-riding ‘begal’ haunt Jakartans

  • Winda A. Charmila

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, May 29, 2017   /  10:08 am
The Jakarta Post Image
Police officers tell alleged motorcycle thieves, mostly in their teens, to perform a simulation of how they stole the motorbikes at North Sumatra's police headquarters on March 23. The police arrested five thieves, known as begal, who often used violence against their victims. (Antara/Irsan Mulyadi)

Jakartans usually welcome the holy month of Ramadhan with joy as practicing Muslims race to do good deeds and people reunite with their friends and families. But this time, the fasting month was preceded by a crime wave in the capital as news channels and social media feeds were inundated by stories of begal (violent robbers) brutally assaulting motorcyclists leading to severe injuries and death. A ride-hailing application ojek (motorcycle taxi) driver, Muhamad Nur, said he and his fellow ojek drivers were increasingly worried about begal. “It’s not terrorist attacks that we’re afraid of. It’s begal,” he recently said when asked whether the recent twin suicide bomb attacks in Jakarta worried him. Another ojek driver, Saefudin, 43, said he would not drive his customers to quiet areas after 10 p.m. to avoid being attacked by begal gang members. ...

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