One of the first arrests of a senior Indonesian politician on corruption charges in 2019 went down in dramatic fashion early this morning after the former head of Surabaya’s Regional Representatives Council (DPRD) attempted to flee from arresting officers, running over a motorcycle in the process.
The vehicle had been placed in front of the former legislator Wisnu Wardhana’s car by police in an attempt to block him from getting away, but Wisnu’s car instead attempted to go through the motorcycle, causing his car to become stuck. The officer on the motorcycle is said to have sustained some injuries though it is unclear how bad they were as it appears they got off the bike before it went under the car.
Witnesses reported that the cars wheels continued to spin as it was stuck, as if the driver was still futilely attempting to flee. Police tried to secure the car and the drivers within, threatening to break the dark-tinted windows if they did not open the doors. It took about five minutes before Wisnu, wearing a mask and hat, and the car’s driver (reportedly Wisnu’s son) emerged. Authorities quickly ushered the former DPRD head into a police vehicle.
The arrest, led by officers working for the Surabaya District Attorney (Kejari), took place at around 5:50 am this morning, shortly after Wisnu was picked up at Pasar Turi Station.
Surabaya’s attorney general’s office said Wisnu was arrested after failing to turn himself in to the authorities following the Supreme Court upholding his conviction in a corruption case involving land and building deals made in East Java’s Tulungagung and Kediri in 2013, when he was involved in the region’s asset management. The country’s highest court upheld his conviction and sentenced him to six years in prison and a fine of IDR200 million (US$14,119).
Although the Supreme Court’s ruling was made in September, Wisnu was given a grace period before the start of his sentence and was supposed to turn himself in to the police about three weeks ago. When he still had not as of last week, the attorney general’s office said on Friday that he was officially a fugitive and he needed to turn himself in immediately or he would be forcibly arrested.
Wisnu’s attempt to escape the law echoes an attempt by former House Speaker Setya Novanto to escape interrogation by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) in November of 2017 by faking a car crash and injuries. His ploy was unsuccessful and in April he was sentenced to 15 months in prison for his role in the massive e-KTP graft scandal.
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