Indonesian police seize assets in online gambling ring probe

Indonesian police seize assets in online gambling ring probe

MEDAN (The Jakarta Post/Asia News Network): North Sumatra Police have confiscated seven buildings owned by a man known as Jhoni, who is wanted for allegedly running an illegal online gambling ring based in the provincial capital of Medan. He is believed to have fled to Singapore.

Police spokesperson Sr Comr Hadi Wahyudi said on Tuesday (Sept 20) that officers suspected that the buildings had been used as underground gambling venues, which they believed saw between Rp 500 million and Rp 1 billion (US$66,628) in cash flow each day.

Hadi said the buildings in Medan were confiscated last week and that officers were continuing to scrutinise Jhoni’s assets for evidence that they were purchased with gambling profits.

“He will [also] be charged with money laundering,” Hadi said.

Jhoni has been on the police wanted list since Aug 24. He is registered as a resident of Deli Serdang on the outskirts of Medan.

Hadi said the North Sumatra Police were working with the National Police, Interpol and immigration officials to pursue the case.

The police had raided the suspect’s home in Deli Serdang on Aug 19, only to find that neither he nor his family were at the address.

Investigators later received a tip from the Medan Immigration Office that Jhoni and his family had fled to Singapore.

Recently, Jhoni was mentioned in unverified rumours circulating on social media regarding the so-called Konsorsium 303 (303 Consortium) and Kekaisaran Sambo (Sambo’s Empire).

The social media posts accused former police internal affairs chief Insp Gen. Ferdy Sambo and other high-ranking police officers of backing illegal online gambling.

The number “303” refers to the number of the article on gambling in the Criminal Code.

Ferdy is a key suspect in the ongoing investigation into the murder of Brig. Nofriansyah Yosua Hutabarat at Ferdy’s home in South Jakarta in July.

The social media posts also accused Jhoni of having a connection with North Sumatra Police chief Insp. Gen RZ Panca Putra Simanjuntak. Panca has denied any involvement.

The police have also named another suspect in the North Sumatra gambling ring case. The man was identified as Niko Prasetia and allegedly managed the operations of Jhoni’s online gambling ring. Niko was detained on Aug 20.

Regional police forces have conducted raids and arrested suspects at the instruction of National Police chief Gen Listyo Sigit Prabowo, who is seeking to eradicate gambling in the country and apprehend those who fund the illicit operations.

Listyo’s instructions came amid unverified rumors of numerous high-ranking police officers backing illegal online gambling.

Responding to the rumours, National Police spokesperson Insp. Gen. Dedi Prasetyo said, “In principle, we have always been stern against ‘social diseases’”, such as alcohol, gangs, drugs and gambling.

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