JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – The Jakarta Police have formed a special team to hunt down robbers preying on cyclists following a spate of attacks in the Indonesian capital’s thoroughfares.
“The special team was formed after the number of robberies [on cyclists] spiked at the end of October. There are already seven instances over the past week,” said Jakarta Police spokesman Chief Commissioner Yusri Yunus on October 27.
“The police are periodically patrolling areas where robbers are likely to strike, such as the Sudirman and Thamrin thoroughfares as well as the area near the National Monument or Monas in Central Jakarta. The patrols include uniformed and plainclothes officers.”
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The formation of the team comes a day after Indonesian Marine Colonel Pangestu Widiatmoko was injured by unknown men who attempted to steal his bike as he was cycling in the Medan Merdeka thoroughfare near Monas on October 26.
“The perpetrators were two men on a motorbike. One of them felled [Colonel Pangestu] and vainly tried to grab his bag,” said Central Jakarta Police Precinct Chief Commissioner Heru Novianto. Marine Corps spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Gugun Saiful Rachman agreed with Heru.
“The attack left Colonel Pangestu with injuries on his left temple and the back of his head, and forced him to be admitted to the Mintohardjo Navy Hospital.”
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Indonesian actor Anjasmara Prasetya was similarly injured cycling in Central Jakarta’s Semanggi thoroughfare on October 18. His attackers used the same method as Colonel Pangestu as they also used motorcycles.
The attacks led bike owners like the Brompton Owners Group Kelapa Gading to suggest a number of precautions. They include riding in groups instead of alone, and constant use of protective equipment like helmets.