Petrus – an “Efficient” Shock Therapy for Criminalities?

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Petrus – An “efficient” shock therapy for criminalities? In the beginning of 1980s Jakarta was shocked with findings of the dead bodies in bags floating in the river. Most of the bodies were decorated with tattoos. Mass media at the time almost entirely featuring widely the discovery of the bodies with bullet holes on tattooed chest or head. Within a day, in various cities in Java, there were several other bodies found in state of tied hands or put in a sack, and left on display such as front of stores, banks of rivers, or in the bushes, after being shot dead by unknown gunmen. Followed shortly, the number of crimes in across the nation fell drastically. Did the dead bodies have a direct relation with the decline of criminalities? Who was behind these anonymous killings and what was the purpose? Mysterious shootings (in Indonesian: penembakan misterius, or often abbreviated petrus) was a covert operation of the Suharto government in the 1980s to combat the crime rate is so high at that time. This operation generally is the arrest and assassination operations against those who are considered disturbing the peace and tranquility of society, referred as “preman” (the Indonesian word for “thug”, thus “premanisme” for “thuggery”), especially in Jakarta and Central Java. The culprit is not clear and was never caught, since it appears the term "petrus", a mysterious shooter. In the early 1980s, Indonesian citizens began witnessing an increase of dead bodies left in public places. It wasn't long before some inquired with the government as to why. At first, the government and other security authorities would not reveal the cause or reason behind the deaths. Commander of Indonesia's Armed Forces, General Leonardus Benjamin Moerdani initially blamed the killings on gang wars. Moerdani later claimed the government commits murder but that "Some were gunned down by security men, but it was because they resisted arrest.” Unannounced to the public, the Petrus Killings were...
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