The Jakarta Post
The National Police have arrested over 90 suspected looters in disaster-hit areas in Central Sulawesi following a strong earthquake and a killer tsunami that swept the region last week.
National Police spokesperson Insp. Gen. Setyo Wasisto said the arrested suspects allegedly stole cash from ATM machines, as well as cellphones.
“The first report I received said the police arrested 49 [suspected looters]. And then the second report added 42 more. So, in total, the police arrested over 90 suspects,” Setyo said on Friday, as quoted by kompas.com, adding that the suspects had been detained by the Central Sulawesi Police.
He went on to say that everyone who broke the law would receive punishment.
In addition to the arrests, the police have also been conducting regular patrols in certain parts of the region to restore order and security.
Previously, Home Minister Tjahjo Kumolo advised against looting, not even in the wake of a natural disaster, calling it a criminal act.
“There’s no justification whatsoever for looting. Everyone’s equally affected by the disaster; their shops destroyed, shopping malls devastated,” Tjahjo said.
Prior to last week’s statement, news spread on social media that the government had approved of survivors taking from convenience stores and that the losses would be covered by the government.
However, Tjahjo denied this, saying that what the government had approved of was the transfer of aid funds to the Central Sulawesi administration, to be used for food supplies for survivors. (rfa)