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Date: Wed, 18 Feb 1998 04:24:51 -0500
Sender: Southeast Asia Discussion List <SEASIA-L@msu.edu>
Subject: Fwd: IN: Rioters paid to initiate anti-Chinese violence, police say (SCMP)
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Rioters paid to initiate anti-Chinese violence, police say

By Jenny Grant,
in the South China Morning Post
Internet Edition
18 February 1998

Rioters in West Java had admitted being paid to initiate unrest, police said yesterday.

Police in the town of Cirebon said their inquiries were focused on seven out of 85 people arrested during three days of attacks against Chinese-owned shops and property.

"We are still investigating the case," Colonel Sukandri, head of Cirebon police, told the Republika newspaper.

He said one of the suspects, identified as Su, had said he was paid 5,000 rupiah (HK$4.50) by two men who had instigated the riots.

Witnesses at riots in the town of Pamanukan said they saw individuals provoking the crowds.

The head of the Cirebon military, Lieutenant-Colonel R. Subagio, said he was "not yet ready to comment on the riot hiring".

Analysts said the Government may soon blame the riots on left-wing groups or ethnic Chinese businessmen accused of supporting outlawed groups.

The head of the Gemala Group, Sofjan Wanandi, is being interrogated by the military on suspicion of supporting the outlawed People's Democratic Party, a pro-democracy group whose leaders are in jail.

East Java police said they would shoot rioters on sight.

"Why not? That is justifiable; shoot on sight," said East Java police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Soetrisno.

He said police were still searching for people spreading rumours that bombs had been planted in department stores across the province.

In further unrest, there were transport strikes in the towns of Bekasi, Cianjur, Labuan, Brebes, and Dili in East Timor on Monday by drivers calling on their companies to increase fares.

"There have been too many buses on our routes, so it is very hard for us to pay the 40,000 rupiah car hire each day," said a striking driver in Bekasi, east of Jakarta.

Drivers said the cost of spare parts had also increased while fares had remained the same, the Kompas daily reported.

In the central Java town of Brebes and the East Timor capital Dili, police used trucks and minibuses to transport stranded passengers.

Transport strikes are expected to escalate when the Government removes expensive fuel subsidies, forcing up the price of basic transport.

* About 8,000 Jakarta slum-dwellers would be relocated in remote provinces as unemployment in Jakarta soared, reports said.

[47]Copyright =A91998 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

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