69 y.o. man in N. Sumatra sentenced to 2 months in prison for stealing rubber sap worth IDR17K

69-year-old laborer, Samirin, at Simalungun District Court in North Sumatra yesterday. Photo: Istimewa
69-year-old laborer, Samirin, at Simalungun District Court in North Sumatra yesterday. Photo: Istimewa

A 69-year-old laborer named Samirin might not have expected a prison sentence for taking a tiny bit of leftover rubber sap at a plantation he used to work at in North Sumatra.

The Simalungun District Court yesterday sentenced Samirin to two months and four days in prison for his crime. 

The theft occurred in July last year, just after he finished herding cattle in Dolok Ulu village (nagori), Simalungun regency. He spotted the leftover rubber sap in a tapping bowl mounted on a tree, and not wanting it to go to waste, Samirin put it in a plastic bag and took it away. 

Samirin previously worked as a laborer at the rubber plantation, which belongs to Japanese auto parts manufacturer Bridgestone. When he retired, he lived at his child’s home not too far from the plantation.

“Samirin was doing odd jobs. He helped herd cattle with IDR20,000 (US$1.47) pay per day. He’s also oblivious to the law,” House of Representatives (DPR) member Hinca Panjaitan, who helped assist Samirin in the case, told Detik yesterday.

Samirin was caught by a patrolling officer at the plantation and was then taken to the security office. They put the sap on a scale and found that it weighed 1.9 kilograms – which amounted to IDR17,480 (US$1.28) in value.

Bridgestone then decided to take the case to the police. While Samirin was not detained initially, he was later arrested once the case was handed over to prosecutors. According to reports, prosecutors feared Samirin was going to run away and that they had demanded he be sentenced to 10 months’ imprisonment. 

“This is very subjective, due to the prosecutor’s laziness. How could he run away? Corruptors can get away, but this is a regular civilian,” Hinca told reporters. 

After the hearing yesterday, Samirin was released immediately because he had served prison time during the trial, which Hinca regarded as an unfair treatment for Samirin. 

Bridgestone Indonesia has issued a public statement regarding the case, highlighting how the company was simply following local laws and regulations.

 

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