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Jakarta Post

He just wanted to go home: Commuter allegedly abused by Transjakarta staff

  • Vela Andapita

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, November 21, 2018   /   11:27 am
He just wanted to go home: Commuter allegedly abused by Transjakarta staff Transjakarta buses line up at the Harmoni transit terminal to pick up passengers on July 13. (JP/Seto Wardhana.)

Faisal was heading home to his house in Cilincing, North Jakarta, on a Transjakarta bus on the morning of Nov. 8 after completing a night shift at a hotel where he worked as a security officer.

He fell asleep during his trip at 8 a.m. that day from the Halimun bus stop in South Jakarta to BPKP Pemuda in East Jakarta. He awoke as the bus reached the Utan Kayu stop and saw a wallet on the floor. He said, thinking that the wallet belonged to a passenger sitting next to him, he picked it up and gave it to the person, who received it, who said that it was his.

However, another passenger suddenly shouted at Faisal, accusing him of stealing the wallet.

Onboard Transjakarta officers put Faisal in handcuffs, preventing him from getting off the bus at his destination. He was taken to the Pulogadung bus stop in East Jakarta and then to the Harmoni stop in Central Jakarta. He said he cooperated, thinking that he was being taken to give information to the police.

However, at the Harmoni bus stop, Faisal was allegedly harassed and assaulted by Transjakarta security officers, his lawyer M. Al Marsyahdan said.

“Can you imagine that? Amid his fatigue, Faisal, who only wished to get home as soon as possible after a night shift, had to deal with such a situation,” Marsyahdan told The Jakarta Post on Monday.

He added that at Harmoni, the 38-year-old was allegedly locked up inside the security room with eight security guards until 9 p.m. Marsyahdan accused the officers of beating up Faisal while inside and forcing him to make a statement in a letter admitting misconduct.

“He was forced to take off his clothes and pants and was told to sit-walk around the Harmoni bus stop while wearing a signboard saying ‘I am a pickpocket’,” Marsyahdan said.

He added that his client had undergone a medical check-up and reported the case to the Central Jakarta Police a day after the incident. Faisal and his team of attorneys would visit the Central Jakarta Police on Wednesday to ensure the report was being processed. Faisal would also issue a subpoena for Transjakarta over the alleged ill-treatment.

“We only want justice for our client. We demand Transjakarta take responsibility for Faisal’s suffering and publicly apologize to restore Faisal’s good name,” Marsyahdan said, adding that Faisal had not returned to work since the incident because of alleged trauma and injuries.

Signboards stating “I am a pickpocket” are among the measures used by Transjakarta to punish alleged pickpockets the company claims to have caught committing the crime onboard buses or in bus stop areas. The company has said that the action serves as a social sanction and is used before proceeding with a report to police. 

Following the report, Transjakarta, however, stood its ground, continuing to accuse Faisal of being a pickpocket based on a report by the company’s security officers who investigated the incident.

“It is not a wrong accusation. We have enough evidence to prove that the person [Faisal] really is a pickpocket,” Transjakarta operational manager Daud Joseph told the Post on Tuesday, adding that the management had questioned the officers on guard that day for detailed information about the incident.

“Among the strongest pieces of evidence was an eyewitness account,” he added. Asked whether any footage from the bus’ CCTV camera was included, he said, “Yes, that too.”

Now that Faisal and his lawyers have filed a report with the Central Jakarta Police, Joseph said the company was ready to face a lawsuit. 

Joseph, however, refused to comment on the alleged abuse and denied that the company conducted any vigilantism. He reiterated that the officers follow the company’s own procedures before handing out punishment to alleged pickpockets. The procedures include questioning victims and witnesses and checking CCTV footage, he said.

The company said it would maintain its procedures and rely on its own security officers to handle such cases. Transjakarta would only involve police if the victims made reports to them, Joseph added.

This article was originally published in The Jakarta Post's print edition on Nov. 21, 2018, with the title "Security officers accused of abuse, humiliation of rider".