Jakarta – The Jakarta Police have formed a task force to hunt down begal (street robbers) targeting bicycle riders on several major streets in Jakarta.
Jakarta Police spokesperson Comr. Yusri Yunus said the police had recorded at least seven bicycle robbery cases across the city throughout the last week of October.
"Robbery [against bicyclists] has become rampant. We are dispatching uniformed and plainclothes officers to conduct regular patrols to prevent similar robberies," Yusri said on Tuesday as quoted by kompas.com.
He added that patrols would be dispatched in areas with a high number of cases, such as Jl. Sudirman, Jl. MH Thamrin and the National Monument in Central Jakarta.
Of the seven cases, the police have only made three arrests in one begal incident in Central Jakarta.
The police are also investigating a robbery against Marine Colonel Pangestu Widiatmoko when he was riding his bicycle around Jl. Medan Merdeka Barat on Monday morning. During the incident, two unidentified robbers tried to take the Pangestu's bag while riding a motorcycle.
A video of the incident is circulating on social media.
Indonesian Marine Corps spokesperson Lt. Col. Gugun Saiful Rachman said Pangestu sustained injuries in the incident because he fell from his bike when the robbers tried to take his bag.
"He was helped by a police officer who was on patrol in the area," Gugun said, adding that Pangestu was taken to the Mintohardjo Navy Hospital to receive medical treatment.Biking communities are working to spread awareness on begal incidents involving fellow bicyclists.
Urban cycling community Bike2Work uploaded photos of bicycle riders putting signs on their backs while cycling in Jakarta. "I am poor. Don't rob me, please," one of the signs read. (dpk)