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

How the gangs got started

Organized youth crime, including motorcycle gang violence, has deep roots in Indonesia. In West Java, the most notorious province for biker gangs, Exalt to Coitus, infamously known as XTC, dates back to 1982, when four senior high school students in Bandung, the provincial capital, created the group. Another well-known gang, Brigade Seven, was born out of the same school. The two groups, along with Grab on Road, also founded by students in the 1980s, and Moonraker, are the biggest motorcycle gangs in West Java. They collectively have thousands of members with deep-rooted school rivalries that led to the formation of the gangs in the first place.

While these gangs were implicated in several bloody brawls in the 1990s, their existence earned media notoriety in 2007 when, in one of the worst incidents of that year, six members of the Grab on Road gang assaulted eight pedestrians with knives and a samurai sword in Bandung, causing minor injuries and stab wounds. The bikers were arrested, tried and imprisoned for eight months. Biker violence subsequently died down following a massive crackdown in 2008 ordered by Gen. Susno Duadji, who was West Java police chief at the time, which resulted in many gang members being imprisoned. Susno had given district and regional police chiefs a one-month deadline to eradicate biker gang activities and vowed to resign if the problem was not neutralized.

Biker gang violence soon re-emerged in various parts of West Java, despite the leading biker gangs pledging in 2010 to dissolve in response to widespread public anger and concern. But this made little difference, as gang members formed new groups or, such as XTC, became a legally registered mass organization.

Please login to leave a comment