Terrorism fuelled on social media remains a threat, says police chief


“Then they created new accounts and shared the same type of content. It means no matter how hard we try to stop them from hacking their social media accounts, they will rise again and create new accounts again.

“We must raise public awareness, we must protect our people and not let them be provoked by the massive dissemination of ideologies on social media.”

Bali's bomb maker Umar Patek in jail in East Java.

Bali’s bomb maker Umar Patek in jail in East Java.

Hukom’s comments come as survivors and relatives of victims’ friends prepare to travel to Bali to celebrate two decades after the bombings that killed 202 people, including 88 Australians.

The anniversary drew near amid outrage that former JI bomb-maker Umar Patek was eligible for parole last month after serving just 11 years of a 20-year sentence.

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Prime Minister Anthony Albanese expressed concern over the reduced sentence of Patek, who admitted mixing chemicals in the Bali attacks, and he remains in jail in East Java pending the approval of President Joko Widodo’s government for his early release.

Yasonna Laoly, Indonesia’s Minister of Law and Human Rights, has clarified that Jakarta would only consider objections to Patek’s exemption from Indonesian institutions and not from outside voices.

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Hukom’s police command approved his release, believing he was fully reformed, but said Indonesia owes Australia a lot for strengthening its anti-terrorist forces and “work culture”. The two countries last year renewed a pact to share anti-terrorism intelligence.

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“We’ve learned a lot from them since the Bali bombing in 2002,” said Hukom, who arrested Bali bomber Amrozi a month after the attack. “We didn’t understand anything then. We didn’t have the technology, we didn’t know what it was [terror] network it was. You taught us. They even helped us with investigative technology.”

Speaking at a seminar at the University of Indonesia this week, he added: “To be honest, our approaches have changed a lot now, [the capability] our intelligence today is extraordinary.”

Adhe Bhakti, a terrorism expert at the Center for Radicalism and Deradicalism Studies in Jakarta, said the introduction of sweeping anti-terrorism laws in 2018 gave the police and Indonesia’s National Counter-Terrorism Agency (BNPT) much greater latitude to act arrest suspects.

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“I think we can say that they are successful given the significant decrease in the number of terrorist attacks,” he said.

“The Counter-Terrorism Act allows law enforcement to arrest people before they commit their crimes, as long as law enforcement has evidence that they are planning an attack or engaged in terrorist activity.”

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