Woman lawyers up after she was caught stealing chocolate bars from convenience store

Video screengrab showing an Alfamart employee apologizing for uploading a video in which she caught a customer stealing red-handed.
Video screengrab showing an Alfamart employee apologizing for uploading a video in which she caught a customer stealing red-handed.

Public opinion is heavily skewed against a woman who threatened legal action against a convenience store employee after she was caught stealing chocolate bars.

Over the weekend, an employee of popular convenience store chain Alfamart filmed herself confronting a lady in a Mercedes Benz after the latter had just left the store. The employee accused the woman of stealing three chocolate bars from the store, located in Tangerang Regency. 

In the video, which had been shared widely on Indonesian social media, the woman gets out of her car, returns to the store and pays for the confectionery. 

Soon, another clip went viral, this time showing the Alfamart employee sandwiched between the alleged candy thief and a lawyer. Reading off a phone, the employee delivers an apology.

“There was a misunderstanding that has caused harm to [the customer]. I apologize for the video, which has circulated [online],” she said.

The customer’s lawyer added that the matter has been settled with the apology, though he stressed that “the videos that circulated caused immense harm to [the customer].” The lawyer also apologized to Alfamart for the “misunderstanding.”

Indonesia has the Information and Electronic Transactions Act (UU ITE), which heavily criminalizes online defamation. The ambiguously-worded law has long been used as a tool by those in power or greater social standing to silence any form of criticism, legitimate or otherwise.

Condemnation poured in towards the customer for using UU ITE to threaten the Alfamart employee into apologizing. However, some regretted the fact that the employee opened up an opportunity for the customer to sue her by uploading the video, despite the woman eventually paying for the chocolate bars.

That said, Alfamart wrote in a tweet today that it regrets the customer and her lawyer pressuring the employee to apologize. Noting that an internal investigation team found that the woman may have tried to steal more than the chocolate bars, Alfamart said it may consider taking legal steps against the woman if necessary.

Renowned lawyer Hotman Paris has offered his legal services pro bono to the Alfamart employee and stressed that she has nothing to fear.

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