Indonesian influencers arrested, civil servants being targeted in country’s war against online gambling

JAKARTA: Indonesia’s war on online gambling has intensified, with the government warning that the problem is spreading across all sectors of the country’s public administration, even as it arrests social media influencers it says alleges, were promoting such activities.

Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Hadi Tjahjanto said on Tuesday (June 25) that those who participate in online gambling come from various backgrounds, including members of the police and military, as well as others. public officials from different ministries and institutions.

“(They come) from ministries, there are members of the army, the police and others (who are involved in online gambling). We have presented the names to the heads of the institutions,” said Mr Hadi, who is also president of the Group. of Work for the Eradication of Online Gambling – was cited by Tempo.

Meanwhile, seven social media influencers were arrested in Banten and Lampung provinces for allegedly endorsing online gambling websites. Eighteen other people were arrested following investigations into three online gambling websites: WNX Bet, W88 and Ciputra League.

“From the suspects, we collected evidence of 4.7 billion rupees (US$291,000) in cash, three cars, 114 mobile phones, 96 account books, 145 ATM (cards), nine laptops and five (digital) tokens.” Hadi said. , adding that authorities had already blocked some 6,000 bank accounts related to online gambling.

The figure is an increase from 5,000 bank accounts which authorities said they had blocked last week.

Hadi stressed on Tuesday that his task force’s priority is the well-being of Indonesians, with concerted efforts to dismantle online gambling networks.

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“The important thing is to save the Indonesian people first, then together we will cut down the betting houses,” he said.

A report by the Financial Transactions Analysis and Reporting Center on June 22 found that the total cumulative transactions for online gambling in the first quarter of 2024 reached 600 trillion rupees ($36.5 billion) and involved about three million players. Among them, around 2.19 million are low-income citizens.

Meanwhile, Minister for State Apparatus Utilization and Bureaucratic Reform Abdullah Azwar Anas told local media that comprehensive measures were needed to deal with public officials involved in online gambling.

“I don’t know how many (public officials are involved in online gambling), but I think the police have done a good job combating (the problem), although we need comprehensive measures,” he said, according to The Jakarta Globe.

Ministry spokesman Mohammad Averrouce said they will continue to take disciplinary action against public officials to curb the spread of online gambling.

He said if a public official is arrested and found guilty, the legal process will move forward along with disciplinary actions.

“Therefore, they can also be sent to jail. The legal process can run parallel to the disciplinary actions,” Averrouce said, as reported by Detik.

Meanwhile, another ministry has announced plans to reveal a list of state officials involved in online gambling, starting with those within its own ranks.

“On Thursday we will announce to the employees of the Ministry of Communication and Informatics that they are also exposed,” said its minister, Budi Arie Setiadi.

According to local media, online gambling has become widespread in Indonesia and this has led to an increase in criminal behavior, including family violence.

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At the beginning of June, a Police woman was accused of murdering her husband.a fellow police officer, allegedly burning him alive due to his gambling addiction, in a case that has put the spotlight on online gambling in Indonesia.

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