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

Police monitor an Exalt to Coitus event in Pelabuhan Ratu, West Java province.

In Jakarta, two main and mutually opposed gangs exist: Pasukan China Kota (Pachinko), which emerged in the 1970s as a gang of hoodlums, and Generation-Y (GEN-Y), which first appeared in the 1990s. Other gangs have emerged in recent years with less violent reputations. Despite Jakarta’s sizeable population, its biker gangs hardly mirror the size and dominance of their West Java peers. Pachinko’s roots lay with Johannes Eijkenboom, better known as Johny Indo, the notorious former biker leader-turned-actor, while the remaining gangs are linked to youth groups in different districts.

Elsewhere in Indonesia, motorcycle gangs appear to have only emerged in recent years. Sudirman Nasir, a sociologist at Hasanuddin University in Makassar, said that gangs in South Sulawesi had only become visible in the past three years. He added that gang members came from both low-income and wealthier families. Risa Fadil, a researcher at the University of North Sumatra, said the emergence of motorcycle gangs in Medan peaked in 2008 with the release of the popular romantic comedy “Teh Tarik Jabrik.” The film, which was followed by sequels in 2009 and 2011, tells the story of a group of young people in Bandung who form a motorcycle gang in defiance of other brutal gangs in the city. However, aside from cinematic inspirations, some motorcycle gangs in Medan, such as Water Blue and Simple Life, have been linked to rival university mass organizations, a 2012 police report concluded.

The case of XTC

Clad in blue and white, members of XTC number in the thousands and spread across West Java. They are admired by numerous other organizations across the country. Their logo, a bee flashing its stinger, symbolizes solidarity among members. If a member is attacked, others will come to the rescue. XTC’s senior members, however, have been trying to reform the group since its dissolution and re-establishment as a mass youth organization in 2012.

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