Stranger Danger

Beware of people you meet online. And beware of strangers seeking help. An Indonesian man has been jailed in Australia for rape after posing as a woman on Facebook to lure victims. While in Jakarta, a woman who was asked for help to find rental accommodation was raped by a policeman after he planted drugs in her bag.

Billy Bartolomeus Tamawiwy (23), originally from Jakarta, moved to Australia last year to study politics and international relations at the University of Canberra. In August 2014, he set up a phony Facebook account, using the name Tayla Edwards and photos of a redheaded woman he had found online.

‘Tayla’ befriended at least seven male teenagers. She would chat with them briefly about general topics before steering conversations toward sex. She told one 18-year-old man that she was bisexual, and that she and two of her female friends would have sex with him, on the condition that he first have sex with a man named Christian. That was Billy.

The victim eventually agreed to have sex with ‘Christian’ after being promised alcohol and marijuana, as well as sex with ‘Tayla’ and her girlfriends. He went to Billy’s flat in Belconnen suburb and drank a significant amount of vodka before the two had sex, which Billy filmed.

The next day, the victim arranged to meet with ‘Tayla’ at her apartment for the promised sex with her and her friends. At the location, the door buzzer went unanswered, while a phone number provided by Tayla went to a real estate company, LJ Hooker. The victim then received a Facebook message saying “sucked in” and a photo of himself and Billy kissing.

Billy threatened to send the sex recording to the victim’s family and friends if he refused to continue having sex with him. Posing as Tayla, he later contacted the victim’s 13-year-old brother via Facebook and sent him a video file. This prompted the victim to go to the police, who raided Billy’s flat in September 2014, arrested him and seized electronic evidence.

When interviewed by police, Billy said he had wanted to teach men a lesson for mistreating women. He said he wanted his victim to know “how to treat girls, not like sluts and stuff. I didn’t mean to hurt him.”

The Indonesian was refused bail on the grounds that he may attempt to flee Australia, interfere with evidence and commit further offenses. He was charged with sex without consent, indecent behaviour, and using the Internet to menace. The Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court on November 11, 2015, sentenced Billy to four years and 10 months in prison for rape and other offenses.

The court heard that Billy had sent pornographic images to seven teenage males and then became threatening if they failed to respond to him.

Billy’s lawyer, James Lawton, said his client had suffered a traumatic childhood in Indonesia. He argued that the victim had consented to sex because he expected the “reward” of sex with Tayla. The jury found that Billy’s deception negated any consent.

Billy will be eligible for parole in November 2016 and is expected to be deported to Indonesia upon release.

Police Extortion

In Jakarta, a policeman was among four men arrested earlier this month for the alleged rape, extortion and robbery of two women.

A 22-year-old woman named Shella was on November 1 approached in Mangga Besar, West Jakarta, by a man named Nicky, who said he wanted help to find a kos (rental room in a boarding house). They exchanged phone numbers.

A day later, Nicky phoned Shella and asked her to come to his room at Hotel Balvena on Jalan Mangga Besar V to discuss rental options. Wary of coming alone, she brought along a friend, Lusmiana (23). When they walked into room 204 at about 10pm, Nicky was there with three friends, including Brigadier Dedi Alexander Sinaga (33).

Dedi pointed his gun at the women, while an accomplice handcuffed the pair. The men said they were all police, conducting a drug raid. They searched the women’s bags and claimed to find two ecstasy pills. They also stole Rp.1 million.

Later, the men drove the women to a hotel in Karawaci, Banten province, and allegedly raped them before stealing their smartphones.

On November 4, the women reported their ordeal to Taman Sari Police, whose jurisdiction covers Mangga Besar. The four men were subsequently arrested. Police said Dedi had headed the public complaints desk at Kalideres Police precinct in West Jakarta.

Indonesia Police Watch demanded the death penalty for Dedi for his betrayal of the police’s creed to uphold the law and protect the public. West Jakarta Police chief Rudy Heryanto merely said Dedi would be fired if convicted.

Dedi reportedly said it was the second time that he and his friends had extorted women. The suspected could be jailed for up to 12 years if convicted of rape.

Jakarta Police chief Tito Karnavian said the city has 32,000 police officers, so the bad behaviour of a single officer must not be allowed to tarnish the force’s reputation. Nevertheless, he promised to conduct an evaluation, including during the recruitment of police.

Indonesian police have long been rated as one of the most corrupt institutions in the country. In the past year, police have focused on pursuing cases against anti-corruption officials, while failing to stop graft within their own ranks.

In late September, news emerged of a Jakarta family whose three-year-old daughter was allegedly raped by a 57-year-old neighbour. The father rushed the girl to a local hospital, but it refused to examine her on the grounds its medical service had closed for the day. Next, he tried Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital (RSCM) in Central Jakarta, only to be informed he would first require a letter from police. So the parents went to Central Jakarta Police’s Women and Children’s Services Unit, where a policewoman demanded Rp.1.2 million for the letter. Lacking the money, the parents had to ask a relative to pawn a motorbike. Next, they had to pay almost Rp.870,000 to the hospital for confirming the abuse of their daughter.

Police spokesman Roma Hutajulu denied there were any fees for sexual assault investigations. He said the government should pay, via the police, all of the family’s costs. He also said the policewoman who imposed the fee would be investigated.

While fraudsters and rapists in some countries may conceal their identities behind phony online profiles, in Indonesia they don’t even bother to change out of their uniforms.

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Kenneth Yeung is a Jakarta-based editor.