Jakarta – The Jakarta Police are set to crack down on unauthorized, late-night sprinting matches across the capital and its satellite regions during the latest reinstatement of large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) amid COVID-19 concerns.
Officers will be deployed to conduct city-wide inspections to ensure public compliance with health protocols, including the ban on social gatherings, said Jakarta Police spokesperson Yusri Yunus.
"We'll disband [illegal matches] in accordance with the ban on gatherings consisting of more than five people," Yusri told the press on Tuesday as quoted by tribunnews.com.
He argued that the races – many of which take place on public roads – not only jeopardize public health but also disrupt public order and road safety. Yusri warned that groups that resist disbursement could face criminal charges.
A spate of illegal sprinting matches has recently gone viral on social media, raising health and safety concerns among the public as the new trend attracts large crowds and disrupts traffic.
Kompas.com reported that several matches had taken place in Bekasi, West Java, and Ciledug and Tangerang in Banten.
Instagram handle @bekasi.terkini posted footage of a local sprinting match in Pondok Gede, Bekasi. Many people were seen crowding the street while cheering the participants.
Jakarta Police traffic unit director Sr. Comr. Sambodo Purnomo Yogo said disbanding the matches was more complicated than stopping illegal car or motorcycle races.
"[...] Sprinting matches only last for a short amount of time, so by the time the police arrive, [they] will most likely have already ended," Sambodo said.
He added that those found to have been involved in illegal sprinting matches could face up to 18 months in prison or a maximum fine of Rp 1.5 billion (US$100,961), in accordance with Article 63 of Law No. 38/2004 on public roads. (rfa)