Kemang Bar Faces Questions After Fatal Stabbing of Youth

The Jakarta Globe

Elisabeth Oktofani, Ismira Lutfia & Zaky Paws

Following the fatal stabbing of a high school student at a nightspot in South Jakarta’s trendy Kemang area, a children’s rights activist demanded that the nightclub be held responsible and called on the victim’s school to evaluate its teaching practices.

Arist Merdeka Sirait, the chairman of the National Commission for Child Protection (Komnas Anak), said on Sunday that the owners of SHY Rooftop should have had rules in place to keep out people under the age of 18.

“The nightclub owners should be held responsible for the stabbing of the Pangudi Luhur high school student because they didn’t enforce this law,” he said.

Arist said Pangudi Luhur students had a reputation for getting involved in brawls, indicating there was a need to evaluate the school’s teaching practices.

“As an educational institute, the school has to focus not only on its students’ academic achievements, but on molding their behavior,” he said.

However, whether the 17-year-old victim, Raafi Aga Winasya Benjamin, should have been allowed into SHY Rooftop may not be a clear-cut issue.

In Jakarta, the minimum age to be allowed into a nightclub is 17, and there is no age limit to enter restaurants.

Arie Budiman, the head of Jakarta’s Tourism and Culture Office, told the Jakarta Globe on Sunday that the permit given to the establishment classified it as a restaurant, bar and live music venue, meaning there is no restriction on who is allowed to enter.

He said the presence of a bar serving alcoholic beverages was part of the restaurant and there was a generally enforced minimum age limit of 17 to consume alcohol.

Yuan Kusuma, who manages several venues that operate nightclubs after 10 p.m., said the policy of keeping out younger patrons was in the hands of managers.

“You need to be 21 or over to get into one of my places,” he told the Globe. “However, before 10 p.m., anyone can dine at the restaurant and we check IDs before letting people in.

“I don’t know about other venues, but we drew up this policy ourselves and stick to provincial by-laws,” Yuan added.

He said that apart from checking IDs, his staff also frisk patrons and inspect the contents of their bags to check for weapons.

However, he admitted that the 21-and-over rule was difficult to enforce with women.

“Makeup can make a woman look older than she is,” Yuan said, adding that the rule was also flexibly enforced for women in a bid to drive up business.

“The more sugar there is, the more ants there are,” he said.

South Jakarta Police Sr. Comr. Imam Sugianto said officers were questioning 12 witnesses as part of its investigation into the circumstances behind the stabbing, which took place early on Saturday morning .

“The witnesses include patrons, friends of the victim, security guards and management personnel at the venue,” he said on Sunday.

Police are also studying closed circuit TV footage from the night. “We’re still analyzing the footage, hopefully it will give us more leads,” Imam said.

Raafi and about 20 friends arrived at SHY Rooftop at 11 p.m. on Friday for a birthday celebration. “They had drinks, but did not get drunk,” Imam said.

He added that at around 2 a.m. on Saturday, Raafi got into an argument with six other patrons at the venue.

“We’re still not sure whether Raafi or his friends knew the people he was arguing with,” Imam said.

The argument escalated into a fight and Raafi was stabbed in the stomach, presumably with a knife. Imam said that at about 3 a.m., Raafi’s friends took him to a hospital in Pasar Minggu, but he died from blood loss.

His body was taken to Cipto Mangunkusumo General Hospital for an autopsy.

“We’re still waiting on the official results,” Imam said, adding that police were also still searching for the murder weapon.

He criticized the management of SHY Rooftop for not notifying police of the incident immediately and said that by the time officers arrived, the scene of the crime had been cleaned.

“They had mopped up the blood and rolled up the carpet,” Imam said. “They have destroyed evidence, which is a crime.”

“They did not file a police report,” he added. “We only learned of the stabbing after being informed by Raafi’s friends.”

Imam said police would distribute a letter to the managers of all nightspots and would add a new clause to the permits of new nightspots.

“We’ll follow up on getting a clause in the permits of existing venues obliging them to notify police of such incidents,” he said.

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