June 23, 2012
MEDAN, Indonesia – Terror groups have turned Medan into a centre for fundraising and raised billions of rupiah by hacking Internet marketing schemes, the director of Indonesia's National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) said Thursday (June 21st).
The comments came after police and anti-terror squads seized three luxury homes in the North Sumatran city along with vehicles, cash and other property with a combined value of 8 billion rupiah ($850,000). They also arrested a key suspect in the management of those assets.
"They own assets in Medan worth billions of rupiah, all of which were derived through fraudulent online multilevel marketing [MLM] transactions," BNPT director Ansyaad Mbai told the Jakarta Post.
He said the Medan assets were acquired by hacking into MLMs, pyramid schemes in which members are financially rewarded for recruiting new members.
"The hackers transferred the credit points to their accounts and then sold them to brokers who transferred the money equivalent to their bank accounts," he was quoted as saying.
The fundraising strategy was uncovered after the arrests in May of terror suspects in several provinces, including five people in Bali, one in Jakarta, four in Medan, two in Bandung, two in Surakarta and one in East Java, the Post said.
"The terror network in Indonesia is an affiliation of several groups, including a group with members in both Cirebon and Surakarta called Hizbah. Most of its members have been captured but some have fled and joined a similar group in Medan," Ansyaad was quoted as saying.
Early Thursday, officers from the anti-terror squad Detachment 88 and local police swarmed a home at Jalan Ekawarni III No 4A, Medan Johor, and arrested its proprietor, Rizky Gunawan, 44, Tribunnews reported. Documents found at the house led to the subsequent asset seizures.
Also arrested were Rizky's wife, his father, his 16-year-old cousin and a19-year-old guest at the house, the report said.
Neighbours told reporters the family had lived there for about three months but rarely interacted with others in the neighbourhood.
Medan Police Commissioner Monang Situmorang alleged that Rizky had taken part in a terrorist training session in Poso, Sulawesi.
"Rizky is a member of the Poso terror network. Rizky acts as a fundraiser for the terror network. For more clarification, ask Detachment 88," he said.
Based on information obtained by the Medan police, Rizky is an IT expert who moved from place to place, undertaking a different activity in each place as book seller, fruit seller, or farmer, Monang said.