Police have asked the city administration to check the permits of all buildings in Kampung Ambon in Cengkareng, West Jakarta, claiming that many of the houses there have been used for illicit drug dealings.
West Jakarta Police chief Sr. Comr. Suntana is under the impression that most buildings in the area do have proper documentation but that many of them are being misused as dens for criminal activity.
“We asked the city administration to check the documents of the buildings. They say they are houses, but we are finding many have big tables inside of them,” he said on Monday.
Suntana said that the big tables could be used for gambling or hiding drugs.
“The administration must demolish buildings without proper documents so that they won’t be used as places for criminal activities. Without such buildings, the area can be turned into a neighborhood where people can live peacefully,” he said.
Kampung Ambon has been known as a safe haven for thugs, gang members, ex-convicts and drug dealers.
Earlier this year, Kampung Ambon was the focal point of a stream of criminal activity, ranging from murders to gang fights.
There was the murder of Sanex Steel owner Ayung, also known as Tan Hari Tantono in January.
There was also a mid-day gang fight and murder of two people at the Gatot Subroto Army hospital, in February.
Those crimes led to police raids in Kampung Ambon, in which 19 people were arrested, and several weapons were seized.
However, that area continues to be a hub of illegal activity.
Suntana acknowledged the possibility that some police or city officials could be tipping off the criminal elements there. He pointed out that on several occasions, drug dealers had received advance warning of police operations and eluded capture.
On Saturday, the police’s plan to search the area was supposedly leaked. When officers arrived, they didn’t find anything.
On Monday, police deployed about 150 officers in a raid. However, they only managed to back with small number of ecstasy pills and methamphetamine.
Suntana vowed to find people behind the leaks.
“We will give harsh punishment,” he said. “Nevertheless, we will never stop raiding the area to prevent it from be used as criminal center.”