Radhiyya Indra, Jakarta – The provincial government has shut down all Holywings outlets across the capital after further investigations found violations beyond its alleged blasphemous promotion.
The Jakarta provincial administration has officially revoked the operating permits of all 12 Holywings outlets in Jakarta, hot on the heels of a blasphemy controversy that has rocked the establishment.
Jakarta Integrated Investment Services Agency (DPMPTSP) head Benny Agus Chandra said in a written statement on Monday that the revocation, following instructions from Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan, was based on findings of violations in a joint review by the Jakarta Tourism and Creative Economy Agency (Disparekraf) and the capital's Industry, Trade, Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises Agency (DPPKUKM).
"The results of research and inspection of the permit documents with the Online Single Submission Risk-Based Approach [OSS RBA], as well as field monitoring of several Holywings Group outlets located in Jakarta [showed that] several Holywings outlets were found not to have the standard KBLI 56301 certificate for a verified bar business," said the head of Disparekraf Jakarta, Andhika Permata.
Holywings also appeared to violate several provisions by opening a venue for alcoholic beverages with only a Retailer Certificate (SKP) KBLI 47221, meaning that the venue was only legally allowed to sell drinks for takeaway and not for consumption on the premises, Andhika said.
Founded in 2014, Holywings has become a popular bar, restaurant and nightclub chain across the country, with outlets located in Surabaya, East Java; Makassar, South Sulawesi; and Bandung, West Java; among other locations. Actress Nikita Mirzani and celebrity lawyer Hotman Paris are among Holywings' better-known shareholders.
The bar chain caused controversy in early 2020 after a venue was found to be open in Bekasi, West Java, during the pandemic with a full crowd and no social distancing. The outlets in Kemang, Tebet and Epicentrum, Jakarta also violated the public activity restrictions (PPKM) numerous times in 2021, which led the police to fine them and name the Holywings Kemang manager a suspect.
Recently, the nighttime establishment prompted fury online, especially among the Muslim community, after its controversial promotion offering free gin to customers named "Muhammad" and "Maria", leading a number of parties to report them to the police for allegedly committing blasphemy.
Holywings has since issued a statement of apology and singled out six employees as the perpetrators, saying the management was not aware of the promotion. The police carried out an investigation under the blasphemy reports and arrested the employees mentioned.
The six suspects – Holywings' creative director, head of the promotion team, designer of the alcohol promotion poster, the promotion team administrators and the social media officer – were charged under the Blasphemy Law, punishable by up to five years in prison, along with the blasphemy provision in the Electronic Information and Transactions (ITE) Law, which carries a maximum of 10 years' imprisonment.
"We conclude that there's a suspicion that a criminal act has occurred through the deliberate broadcasting of false news that could cause a disturbance among the people," said South Jakarta Police chief Sr. Comr. Budhi Herdi Susianto, as quoted by kompas.com.
"It is also related to the alleged criminal act of publicly expressing hatred or contempt for a group, as well as blasphemy against a religion that exists in Indonesia, with a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison," he said.
Human Rights Watch researcher Andreas Harsono said the Blasphemy Law and the ITE law were becoming "increasingly dangerous".
"These six individuals just made an alcohol promotion, maybe ridiculous in this increasingly Islamic country, but no crime at all according to international standards," he said, as quoted by AFP.
Data from Human Rights Watch shows that Indonesia has jailed more than 150 people, mostly from religious minorities, since the Blasphemy Law was passed in 1965.