Rebels without a cause: Inside Indonesia's violent biker gangs
July-September 2015
By: Eduardo Mariz , Rendi Widodo
Exalt to Coitus members gatherings.

Measuring biker violence

Indonesia Police Watch is the only organization that publishes annual statistics on motorcycle gang violence in Indonesia. While police statistics often underreport the real situation, they nonetheless do provide an indicator of general trends. The 28 deaths caused by biker gang-related violence from January through December 2014 were a far cry from figures recorded in previous years: 68 deaths in 2013, 65 in 2011, 62 in 2010 and 68 in 2009. (No figures were available for 2012.)

Increased nationwide public security during Indonesia’s elections in 2014, which saw both national legislative elections and a hotly contested presidential poll, is believed to have been one of the main contributors to the decline, with lower crime figures seen across the board. According to Indonesia Police Watch, only 11 of the country’s 33 provinces have active motorcycle gangs. In total, only 38 incidents of biker gang brutality were recorded in 2014, including 24 people being seriously injured, in addition to the 28 deaths.

West Java led all provinces with 11 incidents that consisted of 10 deaths and 12 injured. The province was followed by South Sulawesi with seven dead, while East Java registered three dead. There were also biker gang-related deaths in the provinces of North Sumatra, Yogyakarta, Central Java, East Kalimantan and Banten. Our crime monitoring shows a similar distribution of cases but a far higher prevalence, with incidents of alleged and confirmed motorcycle gang violence numbering between four and 12 each month across the country through 2014. Some of the most common crimes include purse-snatching, armed robberies of mini-marts, vehicle robbery (particularly motorcycles) and arbitrary beatings.

In most cases, the assailants carried bladed weapons such as knives and machetes, but several homemade firearms were also seized during police raids. In South Sulawesi and West Java, firebomb attacks against police posts and street brawls between rival groups were also recorded. Youth violence, including attacks committed by motorcycle gangs, was also the biggest driver of social conflicts recorded by our own monitoring in 2014, accounting for 22 percent of the total. In 2013, 18 percent of social conflicts were related to youth violence, including motorcycle gang activity.

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