Sunday, 6 October 2013

Gangs of Pancoran

Its been over 7 years in Jakarta for me now and I have to comment that overall the place for me is a secure one. Of course, I may be living in a bubble or I don't or don't want to see anything but the good.
I remember watching pickpockets in Bali target and steal from a tourist but before I could do anything the guy had just disappeared. I remember my first trip out on the Transjakarta Busway mainly due to someone trying to steal my wallet and of course, the month before I got married, having my house broken into, everything that mattered to me taken and leaving behind a bitter taste of Indonesia in my mouth. 

The night watchman said he was powerless to stop the crime in the area and carried a gun and a knife to protect himself. The fact he was nowhere to be seen on the night of the break-in suggests he was not that useful as a deterrent or as a watchman. Still angry about the break in? Yes and forever will be.

So last night around 2am, I am woken by the wife who is telling me there is a fight going on outside. Thinking a fight being a 2 or 3 people shouting at each other or a wife letting go at her husband, I went out onto the balcony to see what was going on. This running street battle had been raging for at least 2 hours I was told after.

This is my Facebook update from what I saw:  

It's 2 am and the locals have busied themselves into a little mini riot. Chains, belts, machetes, clubs. Night security look a little rushed off their feet. No police that can be seen.

Yep. From my view point I could see a couple of lads with belts fighting at the top of the road. There were stones and bricks lying around, clearly having been thrown and coming down the road was a man with a Machete heading into the fight, however, I never saw him return. Cars and bikes were turning around and all the locals were out looking at the noise and commotion near them. 
Best not meet a man with a sword at 2am.
Photo courtesy of demotix.com
A couple more people ran by one carrying a makeshift 2 meter long spear with something sharp at the end and then one of the night watchmen came from nowhere shouting and waving his big stick about. I think he must have done something useful as there was some dispersement. A couple of 'pops' from something made everyone run down the road and the locals dive back into their houses and that was pretty much it for the night. The police eventually arrived not en-masse but in a car but the fight had pretty much ended by then and it was replaced by brushes and brooms sweeping the road clean and tidying things up.
This is the stuff the locals fight with, golf clubs clearly for the more affluent street fighter
It appears that there has been running fights for a while now up and down the street at night with some gangs of bored youths and men probably fighting over nothing like normal but the fact they 'tool' or arm themselves up makes it more concerning. 

Still this being Indonesia, the locals will take matters into their own hands and ultimately once the ringleaders of the fights have been caught, they will face a very severe beating or worse by them. 

I am hoping this ends soon, I am sure it will as these things often do. The streets are still far safer than many in England and I am not stupid enough to outside my house at times like those



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