Jakarta police say they’re working with Interpol to track down suspected int’l MRT graffiti artist

A parked Jakarta MRT train tagged with graffiti. Photo: Instagram/@mrtjkt
A parked Jakarta MRT train tagged with graffiti. Photo: Instagram/@mrtjkt

You know Interpol, the International Criminal Police Organization that coordinates operations between law enforcers in different countries? You might have seen headlines about it of late due to Interpol President Meng Hongwei’s recent ominous resignation. But even during this crisis of leadership, the transnational police force cannot stop taking on important cases such as the one they are reportedly working on with the South Jakarta Police.

The case in question: the graffitiing of a carriage belonging to a train for the as of yet unopened Jakarta Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system.

On September 21, PT MRT employees found that one carriage of an MRT train parked in the Lebak Bulus depot in South Jakarta had been graffitied, possibly the night before. A press release from the state-owned transport operator said it suspected that the culprits climbed over the perimeter fence of the depot to tag the carriage during the dark of the night.


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SIARAN PERS Untuk diterbitkan segera . Aksi Vandalisme Terhadap Kereta MRT Jakarta Jakarta, 21 September 2018. Terkait telah ditemukannya aksi vandalisme dalam bentuk coretan di badan salah satu kereta MRT Jakarta yang sedang terparkir di area Depo Lebak Bulus, berikut kami sampaikan situasi terkait kejadian tersebut: 1. Telah terjadi aksi tidak bertanggung jawab vandalisme dalam bentuk coretan graffiti pada badan luar kereta nomor tiga di rangkaian kereta kedelapan (K1 1 18 45) MRT Jakarta. 2. Tim keamanan dari Kontraktor yang berada di Depo Lebak Bulus menemukan kondisi kereta tersebut pagi ketika sedang melaksanakan patroli rutin pada Jumat, 21 September 2018 sekitar pukul 07:30 WIB. 3. PT MRT Jakarta bersama dengan Kontraktor terkait telah melakukan investigasi mendalam atas kejadian ini yang telah dimulai sejak pukul 08:00 WIB. 4. Diduga pelaku aksi vandalisme tersebut masuk ke lokasi Depo Lebak Bulus dengan memanjat dan melompati dinding Depo Lebak Bulus. 5. Kereta MRT Jakarta yang terkena dampak vandalisme tersebut masih berstatus dalam tanggungjawab Kontraktor terkait karena masih dalam tahap pengujian dan belum diserahterimakan kepada PT MRT Jakarta. 6. PT MRT Jakarta telah meminta Kontraktor yang bertanggung jawab untuk kereta dan area Depo segera melakukan tindakan korektif dengan peningkatan keamanan dan langkah perbaikan yang diperlukan diantaranya sebagai berikut:  menambah jumlah personil security  meningkatkan intensitas patroli untuk memastikan pengawasan di area tersebut  menambah CCTV di dalam Depo  meninggikan pagar depo di sisi-sisi yang dekat dengan area publik 7. Menindaklanjuti investigasi yang telah dilakukan (sebagaimana pada poin 3), Kontraktor terkait telah melaporkan kejadian tersebut kepada Pihak Kepolisian untuk dilakukan penyelidikan lebih lanjut. 8. Pihak Kepolisian telah melakukan peninjauan lapangan pada siang hari ini guna menindaklanjuti laporan (sebagaimana pada poin 7). 9. PT MRT Jakarta sangat menyayangkan aksi tidak bertanggung jawab ini dan menghimbau bagi para Pelaku agar menyerahkan diri kepada pihak yang berwajib untuk diperoses berdasarkan ketentuan hukum yang berlaku. Selengkapnya di post sebelumnya.

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A number of Jakarta graffiti artists told Tempo that the style of the tag indicated that it was the work of a foreign graffitist, not a local.

The South Jakarta Police apparently concur with their hypothesis as they have turned the act of vandalism into an international criminal affair, announcing that they are now working with Interpol to track down the artistic perpetrator.

“We are coordinating with Interpol because we are still looking for where this person is now, in what country, so we need to coordinate. Later, Interpol will technically coordinate all security in the region. The suspect has been monitored moving from country to country and his hobby is indeed (vandalism),” Indra said at the Jakarta Police Headquarters today as quoted by Merdeka.

Indra said that, based on information received by the police, the suspect often did similarly sensational acts in other countries he visited by being the first to tag other objects.

A few have even speculated that the culprit could even be none other than Banksy himself (though he seems to be occupied with slightly more elaborate acts of artistic anarchy these days).

The Jakarta police and other agencies were heavily criticized for allowing the MRT train carriage to be vandalized months before the mass transit system is set to be open to the public with the launch of the railway line connecting Lebak Bulus in South Jakarta to Hotel Indonesia Roundabout in Central Jakarta, is targeted for commercial operations in March 2019.

Much hope has been placed on the MRT to alleviate the capital’s traffic woes. Minister of National Development Planning Bambang Brodjonegoro said last year that Jakarta’s macet — a consequence of the city’s lateness in constructing rail-based transportation systems like the MRT — causes the country US$5 billion loss each year in lost productivity.

The MRT has seen several delays in the recent past, having been previously targeted for completion this year in time for the opening of last month’s Asian Games co-hosted in Jakarta. We wonder which will come first, Interpol catching the international graffiti bandit or the MRT actually opening.

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