Illegal Guns Still in Circulation Despite Deadly Workshop Raid
The police’s raid on an illegal weapons workshop in West Java last week has not stemmed the circulation of illicit firearms in the Greater Jakarta area, as marked by the spate of recent armed holdups and minimart heists.
“There are still many incidents of robberies of bank customers and minimart robberies which all involved firearms,” Sr. Comr. Rikwanto, the Jakarta Police spokesman, said on Friday.
“This indicates that firearms are still being circulated for use in crimes. We believe there are other gun makers out there.”
The workshop raided on June 7 in Sumedang district, West Java, was believed to have churned out the modified handguns used in a series of armed robberies across the Greater Jakarta area recently.
Two people believed to have run the workshop were shot and killed in the raid last week.
Police learned of the outfit after arresting Muhammad Ibrahim, also known as Wongso, on suspicion of robbing a jewelry store in Tangerang. Wongso reportedly told the police that he bought the gun from Doni Rahman, one of those killed in the raid.
“We’re trying to establish how many craftsmen have received orders [to make or modify illegal firearms] from criminals,” Rikwanto said. “We will continue to track them down and uncover where they obtain the firearms from.”
At least three armed robberies occurred in the Greater Jakarta area after the Sumedang raid. All the victims were bank customers who were held up at gunpoint as they were about to conduct or had just finished their in-bank transactions.
Rikwanto encouraged bank customers to ask for a police escort if they planned on depositing or withdrawing large amounts of cash.
“People who want to deposit or withdraw money should ask the police to accompany them,” he said.
“This will at least discourage the perpetrators. At worst, you will have a police officer there to fight back.”
Rikwanto said police did not charge for such services because it was part of their public service.