JAKARTA — Police in Indonesia have named the 13-year-old son of a local rock music star as a suspect in a deadly car crash. Now, the parents say he must leave the country for medical treatment in Singapore.
The youngest son of rocker Ahmad Dhani was driving from Bogor, West Java, to Jakarta on an early Sunday morning when he slammed into oncoming traffic at high speed.
The crash claimed the lives of six passengers of a minivan and injured nine others. The driver, Ahmad Abdul Qodir Jaelan, popularly known as Dul, is just 13 years old.
Knocked unconscious from the impact, the teen driver reportedly sustained a fractured rib and broken leg, and has undergone several operations on his shoulder in a South Jakarta hospital.
But days after police named Dul a suspect, his rocker dad and pop star mom said their son requires medical care in neighboring Singapore.
Danang Widoyoko, coordinator of Indonesia Corruption Watch, says Indonesia’s rich and famous often flee to Singapore to avoid prosecution.
“It is not a new phenomenon here, how powerful people and high-level public officials can get better treatment compared to poor people. This is the situation that we have, and that’s why in the case of the son of Ahmad Dhani people are questioning whether police will be able to enforce the law independently or impartially," said Danang Widoyoko.
Widoyoko pointed to a similar case involving the son of Hatta Rajasa, Indonesia’s Coordinating Economic Minister, and a close aid of the president.
Rajasa’s son was driving on the same road on New Year’s Day this year when his BMW X5 crashed into another car and killed two people.
The 22-year-old was never found guilty.
Dul has already been named a suspect and will require special permission to travel abroad, but Jakarta Police say they will grant the request.
The police have also postponed questioning Dul, saying his condition has worsened.
Under the 2009 Law on Land Transportation and Traffic Control, the longest time the 13-year-old will spend in jail is three years. A minor can only be charged with half the maximum sentence.
In the wake of the accident, activists have urged police to crack down on underage drivers and the Jakarta governor has even suggested an after-dark curfew for minors.
In Indonesia, the legal driving age is 17. But traffic accidents involving teenagers under 16 increased 160 percent last year to 104 cases.