9 students in bullying probe
Jakarta Police have identified nine of the alleged perpetrators of the violent bullying of freshman students of Don Bosco high school in Pondok Indah, South Jakarta which reportedly took place last Tuesday.
“We will question all nine on Monday or Tuesday to find out their roles [in the bullying]. They will also confront the victims during the questioning,” South Jakarta Police chief detective Adj. Sr. Comr. Hermawan told reporters, adding that none of the nine had been named as suspects.
All nine have been identified as students of the school, although the police did not release any details
regarding their grades.
Hermawan said that the police would process the case thoroughly, saying, “This is clearly a criminal act; one that has brought deep psychological trauma to the victims.”
If the nine alleged perpetrators are proven guilty, they may be charged with forceful attack with the intent to inflict harm, as stipulated in Article 70 of the Criminal Code, and also violence against children, in line with the 2002 Child Protection Law. They could face five years imprisonment.
News of the bullying first went viral on Wednesday of last week, only a day after the incident itself, when a relative of Ary, one of the victims, wrote about the incident on social micro-blogging site Twitter.
“We took [Ary] to the hospital. His abdomen and face were full of bruises and he had marks on his neck from cigarette burns. His seniors did this to him,” Sita, the relative, said on her Twitter account.
Other reports concerning more victims began to surface over the next few days, saying that the bullies also forced the underage victims to drink alcoholic beverages.
Hermawan confirmed on Sunday that the bullies only targeted freshmen who had not been students of Don Bosco junior high school. He urged all high school seniors to stop bullying their juniors, as it was a criminal offense. “Even if high school seniors only go as far as threatening the juniors, the police can still charge them under the Criminal Code for issuing threats.”
Separately, Don Bosco vice principal Gerardus Gantur said that the bullying did not take place during the school’s student orientation program, which was held from July 17 to 19.
According to Gerardus, on Tuesday at about 1:45 p.m., seven students were reportedly taken by senior high students to Taman Hijau Baru in Pondok Indah. The junior students, he said, were then told to sit down and keep their eyes down. Don Bosco seniors and alumni covered the junior students’ heads with jackets before slapping, beating and burning them with lit cigarettes. The younger students were told to turn off their cell phones before the assault took place. After being subjected to the violence until about 10 p.m., they were told to go home by taxi.