Friday, February 18, 2011

Police Chief’s ‘Shoot to Kill’ Rule Claims First Victim

DENPASAR

A week after Bali Police chief Hadiatmoko ordered a shoot on sight policy to deal with rising crime rates, a 34-year-old Lombok man is dead, shot through the head while fleeing arrest.

Police said M Syahri, alias Bedog, one of five men detained by police on suspicion they were a villa break-in gang, had tried to break away from his escort while being taken to a crime scene.

They said he was suspected of having been one of the men who savagely attacked Australian woman Christine Cheryl Raeside, of Perth, at her rented Pererenan villa on January 25 and could have been involved in a later break-in and assault on an American man.

Announcing his shoot on sight policy last week, Bali Police chief Hadiatmoko said crime targeting foreigners and locals had reached levels prompting concern that it could damage Bali’s tourism image and frighten off visitors.

“The police have to act firmly and, if necessary, shoot on sight if perpetrators try to escape arrest,” Hadiatmoko said.

Hadiatmoko visited Raeside at her villa after the robbery and assault.

Raeside’s husband Peter, who was in Perth at the time of the robbery, said this week his wife woke about 1am and found four men in the room who grabbed her, gagged her with a sarong and tied her hands behind her back. A knife was held at her throat and the men demanded money, bashing her head against the floor, before stealing goods.

He said that after they left Raeside bit off her gag and cut off her hand-ties before raising the alarm.

Police also say the dead robber was involved in the robbery of American man Philip Mimbimi at his villa in North Kuta. Mimbimi was stabbed in a leg as he tussled with robbers during the robbery.

Before both the latest incidents the Indonesian wife of a retired British pilot man was found dead at her North Kuta home, beaten and with a broken neck. It is believed she was the victim of a break-in robbery although police investigators said there were no signs of forced entry at the villa.

The string of violent break-ins has also hit Indonesian householders and the gang is believed also to have been behind a series of petrol station robberies.

Bali Police crime director Edy Sumitro Tambunan said this week investigations showed the gang operated in two groups and had committed robberies in 14 different places, on houses and villas.

He said they sneaked into villas through the rice paddies, climbed the walls and broke the windows and doors using a crowbar and screwdriver. Once inside they threatened victims with knives or replica guns.

The police operation that led to the arrest of the five men seized two swords, four gold necklaces, money and a watch. They were arrested in a squatter area in Renon. One of the ringleaders, named by police as Melong, escaped during the operation.

Police said Syahri was shot dead later, when he tried to escape as police were taking him to one of the crime scenes.

He had been arrested before on suspicion of robbery, in 2008. He tried to flee on that occasion too, but police shot him in the leg.

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