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Jakarta Post

YouTuber who pranked transwomen with garbage-filled 'aid' packages freed, settles case with victims

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, June 5, 2020   /   09:05 am
YouTuber who pranked transwomen with garbage-filled 'aid' packages freed, settles case with victims YouTuber Ferdian Paleka (center) and his two friends wear orange detainee shirts at the Bandung Police headquarters in Bandung, West Java, on May 8, 2020. (Antara/Ahmad Fauzan)

YouTube vlogger Ferdian Paleka and two of his friends were released from prison on Thursday after being detained for less than one month for posting a controversial video showing them pulling a "prank" by giving fake staple food donations in the form of boxes containing garbage to transwomen.

The trio's lawyer, Rohman Hidayat, said the case was settled on May 19 with the transwomen victims, who initially reported Ferdian and his friends to the police on May 1. The victims had also retracted the report and dropped all legal proceedings, the lawyer said.

"We thank all parties, including the transwomen, who are willing to revoke the charges and bury the hatchet with the suspects," Rohman told kompas.com on Thursday. "The victims also came here earlier and we shook hands, so the problem is over."

He had also advised the perpetrators' parents to ensure that their children do not repeat the same offense.

The Bandung Police's Criminal Investigation Unit head Galih Indragiri also confirmed that the case had been closed.

Read also: YouTube prankster arrested after giving out garbage-filled 'aid packages' to transwomen

When interviewed by reporters after his release, 21-year-old Ferdian said he regretted the prank and vowed not to make other videos with negative content. "We'll see [whether I will continue making YouTube content], but it will certainly be more positive," he said.

The controversial video, uploaded on May 3, showed Ferdian and his 20-year-old friend Tubagus Fadilah Achyar claiming that they were going to give out "aid packages" in the form of instant noodle boxes that actually contained bricks and garbage for people whom they called bencong, a pejorative Indonesian term for transwomen, in West Java's provincial capital of Bandung. 

The video immediately received a massive backlash from social media users as well as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights activists who condemned the bullying and harassment against the minority group. It was removed from YouTube shortly after.

Ferdian and Tubagus, along with their friend M. Aidil, 21, were arrested by the police on May 8 after the victims filed the report. They were charged with violating several articles of the Electronic Information and Transactions (ITE) Law for distributing electronic information containing insults and defamation.

After the arrest, a video went viral showing Ferdian being bullied by other inmates in the detention room of the Bandung Police headquarters. The video showed him shaved bald, stripped to his underwear, forced to do squat jumps and dipped into a trash can filled with water.