JATAM - Mining Advocacy Network
The Drama of hijacking and Hostage-taking of Foreign Journalist

Saturday 31 May 2014, around 08.15 WITA (Indonesia Central Time), tourism boat who carried four tourists from America, Germany, and Sweden who was diving, hijacked by a group of people claiming as a security guard of PT Mikgro Metal Perdana (PT.MMP), the iron ore mining company in Bangka Island. Tourists who were diving and taking underwater picture, were persecuted with rocks by the security in order of their Chinese boss and forced to jumped into the boat to met the leader of PT MMP. They threatened to burn the boat if the tourist did not follow their orders. The hijacking drama lasted until 11.30. The staff of MMP has seized the camera and deleted all pictures. Apparently, those people who claimed as the security of PT MMP were members of Minahasa Utara Police Resort.

Criminal of Mining

As known, PT MMP is reclaiming the coastal area in Ehe, Bangka Island, without a permit. That company from China formerly received a Mining Permit (IUP) on exploring iron ore in Bangka Island. However being sued by the Bangka citizens and has resulted a Supreme Court verdict which cancel the IUP. According to the verdict no. 291 K/TUN/2013 on 24 September 2013 Jo. No 165/B.TUN/2012/PT.TUN.Mks on 01 March 2013 MA.

“If that verdict associated with the provision of article 117 letter b of Law No. 4 year 2009 on Mineral and Coal Mining, then it is clear that IUP of PT MMP has ended because it was cancelled by the court. Mining activity that is being done by PT MMP in Bangka Island, is an illegal mining or PETI (mining without permit),” said Hirowash Maelani SH, legal counsel of Bangka Island citizens.

“Based on field monitoring since February 2014, PT MMP not only do the mining exploration activity, but also construction which part of Production Operation (exploitation phase) without IUP, so according to the law, that is the act of mining without permit (PETI) which fills all criminal act elements on article 158 of Law no. 4 year 2009 on Mineral and Coal Mining, i.e every person who doing mining without IUP (mining permit), will be imposed with imprisonment for 10 years and fines of Rp. 10 billion, “ Hirowash continued. 

The Scandal of Coral and Mangrove Destruction versus Protection

More unfortunately, since 12 May 2914, along with the event of World Coral Reef that is an important agenda in manifesting the commitment to protect world coral reef, PT MMP even start to reclaim the coastal area in Bangka Island. Huge rocks were used to fill in the sea, bury the coral reef and destroy the mangrove. All are done without reclamation permit. One of coral reef dive site called by Sipi, and mangrove nearby, even hoarded by reclamation.

According to the local government of North Minahasa Regency, PT MMP do the reclamation to create a Special Jetty Port and get the steel mill area. “The problem is, all is done without permit. A sack of law infringement which are violated against Law no. 27 year 2007 and the amendment Law no. 1 year 2004 of Coastal Area and Small Islands Management. Also violation against the Government Regulation no. 61 year 2009 of Port and the Decision of Transportation Ministry no. KM 55 for building special harbor without permit. Also protected forest conversion thus violating the Law no. 5 year 1990 of Natural Resources Conservation, and the Law no.41 year 1999 of Forest Jo. Law no. 18 year 2013 of Prevention and Eradiction of Forest Destruction, and without an environmental permit that regulated by the Law no. 32 year 2009 of Environmental Protection and Management,” Hirowash explained.

Something unique in this case. All the criminal acts above have been reported to the Head of North Sulawesi Regional Police on 20 May 2014 by the Bangka Island citizens. However, instead of follow up the report, a day after the criminal report (21 May 2014) even the Governor together with the Head of North Sulawesi Regional Police (Kapolda) and a group of the Regional Leader Communication Forum (Forkopinda) went to a mining location in Ehe village, Bangka Island.

On that visit, the Governor said that iron ore mining is highly profitable for North Sulawesi and Bangka Island citizens. “This is same glom onto the ongoing violations (mining and reclaiming without permits) is legal. Ironically, this is done by the Governor together with Kapolda (Regional Police), Kejati (the State Attorney) and Danrem (Commander of Military Area Command), “ said Imanuel Tinungki, citizen of the Kahuku village in Bangka Island. “Thus it is clear seen, anyone who becomes collusion behind this violation, “ he added regretfully.

For Law Sovereignty, Dismiss the Head of North Sulawesi Regional Police and Arrest the Officials of PT MMP

That hijacking drama is very regrettable by the citizens who has won that case at the Supreme Court. Merti Katulung, one of litigant, said that people and law sovereignty has been robbed by the mining mafia which involving the local officials. The law has been castrated. “We urge the Head of National Police (Kapolri) to dismiss the Kapolda of North Sulawesi because he did not carry out his functional obligation. And put the company’s officials in jail soon,” Katulung said
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