Tag Archives: Indonesian

Indonesian navy says location of missing plane carrying 62 has been found

The Indonesian navy has determined the co-ordinates of a Sriwijaya Air plane carrying 62 people that went missing Saturday after taking off from the capital of Jakarta, navy official Abdul Rasyid said.

“The co-ordinates have been found and have been given to all Navy vessels in the area,” he told reporters.

The passenger jet lost contact with air traffic controllers just minutes after taking off from Indonesia’s capital on a domestic flight, the transportation minister said.

Budi Karya Sumadi said Flight SJ182 was delayed for an hour before it took off at 2:36 p.m. The Boeing 737-500 disappeared from radar four minutes later, after the pilot contacted air traffic control to ascend to an altitude of 29,000 feet (8,839 meters), he said.

56 passengers, 6 crew members

Boeing released a two-line statement saying it was aware of media reports from Jakarta and was gathering more information.

A statement released by the airline said the plane was on an estimated 90-minute flight from Jakarta to Pontianak, the capital of West Kalimantan province on Indonesia’s Borneo island. There were 56 passengers and six crew members onboard.

Irawati said in a statement that a search and rescue operation was underway in co-ordination with the National Search and Rescue Agency and the National Transportation Safety Committee.

Local media reports said fishermen spotted metal objects believed to be parts of a plane on Saturday afternoon in the Thousand Islands, a chain of islands north of Jakarta.

This radar image shows the flight path of Indonesian Sriwijaya Air Flight 182 before it dropped off radar on Saturday. (Flightradar24.com via AP)

Television footage showed relatives and friends of people aboard the plane weeping, praying and hugging each other as they waited at Jakarta’s airport and Pontianak’s airport.

Indonesia, the world’s largest archipelago nation, with more than 260 million people, has been plagued by transportation accidents on land, sea and air because of overcrowding on ferries, aging infrastructure and poorly enforced safety standards.

In October 2018, a Boeing 737 MAX 8 jet operated by Lion Air plunged into the Java Sea just minutes after taking off from Jakarta, killing all 189 people on board. It was the worst airline disaster in Indonesia since 1997, when 234 people were killed on a Garuda flight near Medan on Sumatra island. In December 2014, an AirAsia flight from Surabaya to Singapore plunged into the sea, killing 162 people.

Sriwijaya Air is one of Indonesia’s discount carriers, flying to dozens of domestic and international destinations.

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Indonesian village wants Canada’s trash

Indonesia’s crackdown on imported foreign waste — including from Canada — has upset the village of Bangun, where residents say they earn more money sorting through piles of garbage than growing rice in once-lush paddy fields.

Overwhelmed by a spike in waste imports after China closed its doors to foreign garbage, Indonesia has tightened import rules and customs inspections, sending hundreds of tonnes of foreign waste back to their origin countries.

Green groups praised the crackdown, but Bangun residents say restricting trash from countries like the United States, Canada and Australia will wipe out a key source of income.

“If they’re going to forbid us from this, there must be a solution. The government hasn’t provided us jobs,” said Heri Masud as he took a break from sifting through rubbish piled high around the village of 3,600 people.

Children in Bangun play on a pile of rubbish. (Willy Kurniawan/Reuters)

The front and backyards of homes in Bangun overflow with waste on land that once had been used to grow rice.

Villagers look for plastic and aluminum to sell to recycling firms. Tofu makers also buy waste to burn as fuel when making the soy-based food.

Masud said the money from sorting trash is used to fund activities such as sending villagers on the Hajj pilgrimage to Islam’s holiest sites in Saudi Arabia.

“Every year 17-20 people from this village go on a Hajj. That’s funded from this waste,” he said.

Salam, 54, said recycled rubbish paid for his children’s schooling, and also bought a house for his family and livestock.

“I have nine goats now,” said Salam, who works as a waste broker between villagers and a nearby paper factory and says his job is easier than farming.

A 5-year-old boy walks over a pile of garbage. The yards around homes that once grew rice are piled high with trash. (Willy Kurniawan/Reuters)

While it may be more lucrative, the piles of garbage are a threat to villagers’ health, environmentalists say.

Research by the green group ECOTON found microplastics had polluted groundwater in Bangun and in the nearby Brantas river used for drinking water by five million people in the area.

Indonesia imported 283,000 tonnes of plastic waste last year, up 141 per cent from a year earlier. The country is the second biggest contributor of plastic pollutants in the world’s oceans, according to a 2015 study.

In June, Indonesia sent back about 100 tonnes of paper waste imported from Canada via the U.S. because it was contaminated with plastic and rubber. 

A month earlier, the president of the Philippines ordered 69 containers of garbage be sent back to Canada because it had been mislabelled as recyclables. 

Domestic waste in Indonesia is also a problem.

Indonesia generates 105,000 tonnes of solid municipal waste every day in urban areas, with only 15 per cent recycled, said a World Bank report in June. Many city landfills are near capacity and beaches around the archipelago are often strewn with rubbish.

“We already know that Indonesia is dirty, and now America is adding their rubbish,” Prigi Arisandi, executive director of ECOTON, said at a recent rally outside the U.S. consulate general in Surabaya in East Java.

Indonesia has launched a plan to reduce marine plastic debris by 70 per cent by 2025, pledging to spend $ 1.3 billion Cdn, but it is unclear how much progress has been made.

The government is behind schedule for setting up waste-to-energy plants, while a plan to impose a levy on plastic bags is facing strong opposition from the plastic industry.

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Indonesian woman freed 2 years after Kim Jong-nam's VX death

An Indonesian woman held for two years on suspicion of killing North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's half-brother was freed from custody Monday after Malaysian prosecutors unexpectedly dropped the murder charge against her.

Siti Aisyah cried and hugged her Vietnamese co-defendant, Doan Thi Huong, before leaving the courtroom and being ushered away in an embassy car. She told reporters that she had only learned Monday morning that she would be freed.

"I feel very happy," she said later at a news conference at the Indonesian Embassy. "I didn't expect that today will be my freedom day."

The two young women were accused of smearing VX nerve agent on Kim Jong-nam's face in an airport terminal in Kuala Lumpur on Feb. 13, 2017. They have said they thought they were taking part in a prank for a TV show. They had been the only suspects in custody after four North Korean suspects fled the country the same morning Kim was killed.

Discharged without acquittal

The High Court judge discharged Aisyah without an acquittal after prosecutors applied to drop the murder charge against her. They did not give any reason.

The trial will resume Thursday, with prosecutors expected to reply to a request by Huong's lawyers asking the government to similarly withdraw the charges against her.

Indonesia's government said its continual high-level lobbying resulted in Aisyah's release. The foreign ministry said in a statement that she was "deceived and did not realize at all that she was being manipulated by North Korean intelligence."

It said Aisyah, a migrant worker, believed that she was part of a reality TV show and never had any intention of killing Kim.

Indonesia pushed for release

The ministry said that over the past two years, Aisyah's plight was raised in "every bilateral Indonesia-Malaysia meeting," including at the president's level, the vice-president's level and in regular meetings of the foreign minister and other ministers with their Malaysian counterparts.

Aisyah's release comes just a month before Indonesia's general election and is seen as a boost to President Joko Widodo, who is seeking re-election.

Doan Thi Huong is escorted by Malaysian police from court on Monday. A High Court judge last August had found there was enough evidence to infer Aisyah, Huong and four missing North Koreans had engaged in a "well-planned conspiracy" to kill Kim Jong-nam. (Mohd Rasfan/AFP/Getty Images)

Aisyah thanked Widodo and his government for helping secure her release. Officials said she was expected to fly back to Jakarta, Indonesia's capital, later Monday.

Wearing a red headscarf and a black flowery traditional dress, Aisyah was composed during the news conference. She said that she was well-treated in prison and received plenty of encouragement, but that she was eager to meet her family again.

'I am in shock'

Prosecutor Iskandar Ahmad said that the discharge not amounting to acquittal means Aisyah can be recharged if there is fresh evidence, but that there are no such plans for now.

Meanwhile, Huong said she was shocked by the development.

"I am in shock. My mind is blank," a distraught Huong told reporters through a translator after Aisyah left.

Huong's lawyer Hisyam Teh Poh Teik said Huong felt Aisyah's discharge was unfair to her as the judge last year had found sufficient evidence to continue the murder trial against them.

"She is entitled to the same kind of consideration as Aisyah," he said. "We are making representation to the attorney general for Doan to be taken equally … there must be justice."

Could have been seen as threat

A High Court judge last August had found there was enough evidence to infer Aisyah, Huong and the four missing North Koreans had engaged in a "well-planned conspiracy" to kill Kim Jong-nam. The defence phase of the trial had been scheduled to start in January but was delayed until Monday.

Lawyers for the women have previously said that they were pawns in a political assassination with clear links to the North Korean Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, and that the prosecution failed to show the women had any intention to kill. Intent to kill is crucial to a murder charge under Malaysian law.

Malaysian officials have never officially accused North Korea and have made it clear they don't want the trial politicized.

Kim was the eldest son in the current generation of North Korea's ruling family. He had been living abroad for years but could have been seen as a threat to Kim Jong-un's rule.

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Indonesian rescuers struggle against heavy rain to reach tsunami-hit villages

Indonesian rescue teams on Wednesday struggled to reach remote areas on the western coast of Java amid an "extreme weather" rain warning after a tsunami killed more than 400 people last week.

Heavy rain lashed fishing villages along the coast, muddying roads and holding up convoys delivering heavy machinery and aid to isolated areas while authorities urged residents to stay away from the shore in case of further waves.

Clouds of ash spewed from the nearby Anak Krakatau, or child of Krakatau, almost obscuring the volcanic island where a crater collapse at high tide on Saturday sent waves up to five meters high smashing into the coast on the Sunda Strait, between Java and Sumatra islands.

Indonesia's meteorology agency (BMKG) said the rough weather could make the volcano's crater more fragile.

"We have developed a monitoring system focused specifically on the volcanic tremors at Anak Krakatau so that we can issue early warnings," said BMKG head Dwikorita Karnawati, adding that a two-kilometer exclusion zone had been imposed.

The confirmed death toll is 430, with at least 159 people missing. Nearly 1,500 people were injured and over 21,000 people have evacuated to higher ground.

Roads 'damaged and clogged'

A state of emergency has been declared until Jan. 4, which authorities hope will make it easier to deploy assistance, said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for the national disaster mitigation agency.

Search and rescue teams were focused on the town of Sumur near the southwest tip of Java, but "the roads are damaged and clogged" and helicopters had to be deployed to carry out assessments and evacuations, he added.

A man holding an umbrella watches as personnel search through the debris of his damaged house after a tsunami, in Sumur, Banten province, Indonesia on Dec. 26. (Jorge Silva/Reuters)

Volunteers were having to piece together makeshift bridges out of concrete blocks after the waves washed away infrastructure along the coast.

Indonesia is a vast archipelago that sits on the Pacific "Ring of Fire." This year, the country has suffered its worst annual death toll from disasters in more than a decade.

The latest disaster, coming during the Christmas season, evoked memories of the Indian Ocean tsunami triggered by an earthquake on Dec. 26, 2004, which killed 226,000 people in 14 countries, including more than 120,000 in Indonesia.

The Saturday evening tsunami followed the collapse of an area of the volcano island of about 64 hectares, or about 90 soccer pitches.

The waves engulfed fishing villages and holiday resorts, leaving a coast littered with the matchwood of homes, crushed vehicles and fallen trees. Children's toys and rides at a seaside carnival in Sumur were left scattered along a swampy beach.

The surge of seawater also left dozens of turtles, weighing several kilograms, stranded on land, and some volunteer rescuers worked to carry them back to the sea.

'We're restless'

On Sebesi Island in the middle of the Sunda Strait, helicopters had been dispatched to evacuate residents.

Along the coast, thousands of people are staying in tents and temporary shelters like mosques or schools, with dozens sleeping on the floor or in crowded public facilities. Rice and instant noodles have been delivered to many shelters, but clean water, wet weather gear, fresh clothes, and blankets are in short supply, some evacuees said.

Debris and damaged property is seen after a tsunami, in Sumur, Banten province, Indonesia. (Jorge Silva/Reuters)

Ade Hasanah, 45, staying in an emergency centre with her children, said people were being told not to return to their homes.

"It's safe here," she said. "We hope if the children are safe and the situation is stable, we can go home quickly. We're restless."

In 1883, the volcano then known as Krakatoa erupted in one of the biggest blasts in recorded history, killing more than 36,000 people in a series of tsunamis and lowering the global surface temperature by one degree Celsius with its ash.

Anak Krakatau is the island that emerged from the area in 1927 and has been growing ever since.

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Doctors, rescuers scramble to save victims in tsunami-hit Indonesian areas as death toll passes 280

Doctors worked to save injured victims while hundreds of military and volunteers scoured debris-strewn beaches in search of survivors Monday after a deadly tsunami gushed ashore without warning on Indonesian islands, killing more than 280 people on a busy holiday weekend.

The waves that swept terrified locals and tourists into the sea Saturday night along the Sunda Strait followed an eruption and apparent landslide on Anak Krakatau, or "Child of Krakatoa," one of the world's most infamous volcanic islands.

At least 281 people were killed and more than 1,000 were hurt. Dozens remained missing from the disaster areas along the coastlines of western Java and southern Sumatra islands, and the numbers could increase once authorities hear from all stricken areas.

The Indonesian Medical Association of Banten region said it has sent doctors and medical supplies and equipment and that many of the injured were in need of orthopedic and neurosurgery surgery. It said most patients are domestic tourists who were visiting the beach during the long weekend ahead of Christmas.

2nd deadly tsunami this year

It was the second deadly tsunami to hit seismically active Indonesia this year. A powerful earthquake triggered the tsunami that hit Sulawesi island in September, giving residents a brief warning before the waves struck.

On Saturday night, however, the ground did not shake to alert people before the waves ripped buildings from their foundations and swept terrified concertgoers celebrating on a resort beach into the sea.

Dramatic video posted on social media showed the Indonesian pop band Seventeen performing under a tent on Tanjung Lesung beach at a concert for employees of a state-owned electricity company. Dozens of people sat at tables while others swayed to the music near the stage as strobe lights flashed and theatrical smoke was released. A child could also be seen wandering through the crowd.

Seconds later, with the drummer pounding just as the next song was about to begin, the stage suddenly heaved forward and buckled under the force of the water, tossing the band and its equipment into the audience.

More than 1,000 injured

The group released a statement saying their bass player, guitarist and road manager were killed, while two other band members and the wife of one of the performers were missing.

"The tide rose to the surface and dragged all the people on site," the statement said. "Unfortunately, when the current receded, our members were unable to save themselves while some did not find a place to hold on."

A man reacts after identifying a relative during a rescue operation at the beach front hotel, which was hit by a tsunami in Pandeglang, Banten province, Indonesia, December 24, 2018. (Jorge Silva/Reuters)

Disaster agency spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said Monday morning that 281 deaths had been confirmed and at least 1,016 people were injured.

The worst-affected area was the Pandeglang region of Java's Banten province, which encompasses Ujung Kulon National Park and popular beaches, the agency said.

Canada offers to assist

Indonesian President Joko (Jokowi) Widodo expressed his sympathy and ordered government agencies to respond quickly to the disaster.

"My deep condolences to the victims in Banten and Lumpung provinces," he said. "Hopefully, those who are left have patience."

Tsunami survivor Wahyudin sits at a temporary shelter in Tanjung Lesung, Indonesia, on Sunday. (Achmad Ibrahim/Associated Press)

A spokesperson for Global Affairs said in a statement that consular officials are ready to assist Canadians, if needed.

"Canada is deeply saddened by the tragedy caused by the Sunda Strait tsunami in Indonesia. We offer our sincerest condolences to the families and loved ones of those killed and wish a swift recovery to those injured. We are not aware of any Canadians who have been affected," the statement read.

In addition, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered his condolences in a tweet on Sunday and reiterated Canada's offer to assist.

9 hotels heavily damaged

In the city of Bandar Lampung on Sumatra, hundreds of residents took refuge at the governor's office, while at the popular resort area of Anyer beach on Java, some survivors wandered in the debris.

Many of the affected areas are popular weekend getaways for residents of Jakarta, but foreigners were also visiting the area over the long holiday weekend as well. A Norwegian photographer and volcano enthusiast posted on Facebook that he had to run to escape the waves while on the beach photographing the volcano

Indonesia's President Joko Widodo visits the scene of devastation at the Mutiara Carita Cottages in Carita in Banten province two days after the tsunami. (Sonny Tumbelaka/AFP/Getty Images)

The tsunami was not huge and did not surge far inland, but its force was still powerful and destructive. 

The damage became apparent after daybreak Sunday. Nine hotels and hundreds of homes were heavily damaged by the waves. Broken chunks of concrete and splintered sticks of wood littered hard-hit coastal areas, turning beach getaways popular with Jakarta residents into near ghost towns. Debris from thatch-bamboo shacks was strewn along beaches.

Yellow, orange and black body bags were laid out, and weeping relatives identified the dead.

Tsunami caused by landslide?

Scientists, including those from Indonesia's Meteorology and Geophysics agency, said the tsunami could have been caused by landslides — either above ground or under water — on the steep slope of the erupting Anak Krakatau volcano. The scientists also cited tidal waves caused by the full moon.

The 305-metre-high Anak Krakatau, whose name means "Child of Krakatoa," lies on an island in the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra islands, linking the Indian Ocean and the Java Sea. It has been erupting since June and did so again about 24 minutes before the tsunami, the geophysics agency said.

A woman cries as she reads a list of victims who were killed in the tsunami, at Carita in Padeglang, Banten province, Indonesia. (Asep Fathulrahman/Antara Foto via Reuters)

The volcanic island formed over years after the 1883 eruption of the Krakatoa volcano, one of the largest, most devastating in recorded history. That disaster killed more than 30,000 people, launched far-reaching tsunamis and created so much ash that day was turned to night in the area and a global temperature drop was recorded.

Most of the island sank into a volcanic crater under the sea, and the area remained calm until the 1920s, when Anak Krakatau began to rise from the site. It continues to grow each year and erupts periodically.

Tsunami was about a metre

Gegar Prasetya, co-founder of the Tsunami Research Center Indonesia, said Saturday's tsunami was likely caused by a flank collapse — when a big section of a volcano's slope gives way. It's possible for an eruption to trigger a landslide above ground or beneath the ocean, both capable of producing waves, he said.

"Actually, the tsunami was not really big, only one metre," said Prasetya, who has studied Krakatoa. "The problem is people always tend to build everything close to the shoreline."

Many of those affected were domestic tourists enjoying the long holiday weekend, but foreigners were visiting the area ahead of Christmas as well. (Achmad Ibrahim/Associated Press)

Indonesia, a vast archipelago of more than 17,000 islands and home to 260 million people, lies along the "Ring of Fire," an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin. Roads and infrastructure are poor in many areas, making access difficult in the best of conditions.

A powerful quake on the island of Lombok killed 505 people in August. And the tsunami and earthquake that hit Sulawesi in September killed more than 2,100 people, and thousands more are believed buried in neighbourhoods swallowed by a quake phenomenon known as liquefaction.

Saturday's tsunami also rekindled memories of the massive magnitude 9.1 earthquake that hit Indonesia on Dec. 26, 2004. It spawned a giant tsunami off Sumatra island, killing more than 230,000 people in a dozen countries — the majority in Indonesia.

The Anak Krakatau volcano is seen during an eruption at Sunda strait in South Lampung, Indonesia, on Sunday. (Nurul Hidayat/Antara Foto via Reuters)

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Indonesian island hit by another quake, causing landslides

A strong earthquake jolted the Indonesian tourist island of Lombok on Sunday, causing landslides and damaging buildings, as the island tries to recover from a temblor earlier this month that killed hundreds of people.

The U.S. Geological Survey measured the latest quake, centred in Lombok's northeast, at magnitude 6.3 with a depth of seven kilometres. It was felt on the neighbouring island of Bali and was preceded a few minutes earlier by a magnitude 5.4 quake, also in Lombok's northeast.

The quake caused landslides on the slopes of Mount Rinjani, an active volcano, and panic in villages, according to an Associated Press reporter on Lombok. Video shot by the Indonesian Red Cross show huge clouds of dust billowing from the mountain's slopes.

Rescuers and police officers walk on debris of a collapsed mosque in northern Lombok on Aug. 9. (Adi Weda/EPA-EFE)

The shaking toppled motorcycles and there was damage to buildings in Sembalun subdistrict, including a community hall that collapsed. The hall had sustained damage in earlier quakes, said National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho. Homes and a mosque were also damaged, he said.

So far, there have been no reports of injuries or fatalities, he said, but information was still being collected.

A magnitude 7.0 quake that struck Lombok on Aug. 5 killed 460 people, damaged tens of thousands of homes and displaced several hundred thousand people.

Mount Rinjani has been closed to visitors following a July earthquake that killed 16 people, triggered landslides and stranded hundreds of tourists on the mountain.

Indonesia, a sprawling archipelago that straddles the Pacific "Ring of Fire," is prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

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3 dead after 7.0 earthquake hits Indonesian resort islands

A strong earthquake struck Indonesia's popular tourist island of Lombok on Sunday, killing at least three people, one week after another quake in the same area killed more than a dozen.

The latest quake, which triggered a brief tsunami warning, damaged buildings as far away as Denpasar on Bali island, including a department store and the airport terminal, where ceiling panels were shaken loose, authorities said.

Video showed screaming people running in panic from houses in a Bali neighbourhood and vehicles rocking. On Lombok, soldiers and other rescuers carried injured people on stretchers and carpets to an evacuation centre.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake had a magnitude of 7.0, which is classified as "major." It struck early Sunday evening at a depth of 10.5 kilometres. Its epicentre was about 2 kilometres east-southeast of Loloan.

A tsunami warning was lifted after waves just 15 centimetres high were recorded in three villages, said Dwikorita Karnawati, head of Indonesia's Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency.

Fleeing to higher ground

Najmul Akhyar, district chief of North Lombok, told MetroTV that there was an electrical blackout so he was unable to assess the entire situation, but that at least three people had been killed.

National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said the quake was felt strongly across Lombok and Bali and had damaged houses on both islands.

Patients were lined up outside a hospital in Bali as a precautionary measure following the earthquake. (Joahnnes P. Christo/Reuters)

Iwan Asmara, a Lombok disaster official, said people poured out of their homes in panic to move to higher ground, particularly in North Lombok and Mataram, the capital of West Nusa Tenggara province, which includes Lombok.

The Bali and Lombok airports were operating normally Sunday night, according to the director general of civil aviation. There had been a half hour evacuation at the Lombok airport earlier in the evening following the quake because the electricity went off.

An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.4 hit Lombok on July 29, killing 16 people.

Like Bali, Lombok is known for pristine beaches and mountains. Hotels and other buildings in both locations are not allowed to exceed the height of coconut trees.

Indonesia is prone to earthquakes due to its location on the Pacific "Ring of Fire," an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin. In December 2004, a massive earthquake with a magnitude of 9.1 off Sumatra triggered a tsunami that killed 230,000 people in a dozen countries.

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Indonesian police probe 'orders' for child pornography from Canada, Russia

Indonesian authorities are investigating whether a child pornography ring had links to an international network, police said on Tuesday, after videos of adult women engaged in sexual acts with boys went viral on social media.

Police in West Java province said three boys as young as seven and who figured in the videos are now in the care of social workers.

At least seven people have been arrested, including the mothers of two of the boys, on suspicion of violating child protection and pornography laws. They could face up to 15 years in prison.

“Results of the preliminary investigation show that the director sold the videos to someone in Russia and Canada,” said regional police spokesperson Yusri Yunus.

Yunus said the motive of those involved was to make money.

“We are still investigating and co-ordinating with the national cybercrime unit.”

The director received $ 2,700 to make the videos, media have said.

Indonesia has been vulnerable to child pornography and sexual abuse of minors because of poverty and lax enforcement of laws in the past.

Authorities stopped 92 convicted Australian pedophiles from entering the country last year, based on immigration data.

In a case that shocked Southeast Asia, a British court handed Richard Huckle 22 life sentences in 2016 for abusing up to 200 babies and children, mostly in Malaysia, and sharing images of his crimes on the dark web.

UNICEF says the Philippines is the top global source of child pornography.

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