15 Satpol PP Officers Named Suspects Over Forced East Nusa Tenggara Airport Closure

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A Merpati Nusantara Airlines plane sits at an airport in Luwuk, Central Sulawesi. (JG Photo/Erwida Maulia)

Police on Tuesday said 15 public order agency (Satpol PP) officers in Ngada district, East Nusa Tenggara, have been named suspects in an investigation after carrying out an order from the district head to forcefully close a local airport on Saturday.

Turelelo Soa Airport was temporarily shut on Saturday morning after Marianus Sae, the district head, ordered for it to be closed after he was denied a ticket on an fully-booked Merpati Nusantara flight. Airport officials said they could do nothing to end the blockade because they were outnumbered by Satpol PP officers enforcing Marianus’s wishes.

“Fifteen [Satpol PP officers] have been named suspects for violating the law and trespassing on the runway,” East Nusa Tenggara Police chief Brig. Gen. I Ketut Untung Yoga Ana told Indonesian news portal vivanews.com.

He said it would need some time, though, before Marianus himself could be charged in the case.

“Our law specifies that questioning of district heads requires permission, a recommendation from the governor,” Untung said.

He added that Ngada Police were currently dealing with the case.

“[They] are investigating others first — those whose questioning doesn’t require a letter,” Untung said. “They need time. They’re working in stages.”

Separately in Jakarta, National Police chief Gen. Sutarman said Marianus allegedly violated Indonesia’s Aviation Law.

“Shutting an airport violates Article 421 of the 2009 Law on Aviation,” he said. “Blockading an airport is punishable by three years in prison and Rp 1 billion [$82,000] in fines.”

Sutarman added that police decided to commence the investigation into the case even though no one had filed a report against Marianus.

He added that anyone involved in the closure might face legal charges.

“There are three [alleged] perpetrators: those who did it, those who helped and those who ordered it,” Sutarman said. “The punishment will be the same. We will question [all of them].”

Aside from the Satpol PP officers, police said they have questioned officials from Merpati and airport operator Angkasa Pura, as well as airport security personnel, over Saturday’s incident.

  • Vash

    If Mari(anus) is not fired or locked away, Indonesia will be the laughing stock of the world.

  • Botak

    Pathetic Indonesia!

    It’s always the same the small one gets the blame while the real baddies are getting away.

    If the satpol-PP officers wouldn’t have followed the orders of Mari(anus) they would get fired, and when they follow the orders they get prosecuted.

    Continue like this Indonesia and you will look one day at a repeating French Revolution, which started because of a feudalistic elite.

  • Long term visitor

    Blatant abuse of power. If an example is not made of this, the whole world will shake their head.

  • simsin

    This news already spread outside Indonesia and we are becoming laughing stock to other people. I read from Bangkok Post that Merparti chief rebuke his staffs for not freeing a seat for Matianus. What a joke, if he has an important meeting, he should have Bol his flight earlier. If there is any justice in Indonesia, he should be brought to court and send to jail.

  • sheldon

    So if someone breaks the law the police require permission to interrogate him, never mind arrest him. What if he had murdered someone? Very strange

  • billy

    INDONESIA never had a good image anyway, so theres no harm done there!!!!
    but this moron needs a kick up the bum, A very heavy fine should do the job, and the small airline should ban him for life, just to make sure he does not get a seat!!!!

  • billy

    I wonder how much bribe the ngada police will take ?