East Timor bans martial arts clubs

2013-09-23 13:02
(File, AP)

(File, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Dili - East Timor police say there will be zero tolerance against those who continue to practice a local martial art after the government banned all clubs following deadly gang violence, an official said on Monday.

At least 12 East Timorese have been killed and more than 200 injured in the past two years as a result of fighting among rival pencak silat clubs, said Armando Monteiro, National Police detective chief.

Two were killed in neighbouring Indonesia, while other deaths and injuries have occurred as far away as England and Ireland. He said the number of casualties is likely higher since many people are afraid to report gang activity or go to the hospital for treatment.

"Any martial arts clubs members that violate the government resolution will be dealt with under the law," Monteiro said. There will be "zero tolerance for martial arts activities in the country."

Schools and clubs for pencak silat, an adapted form of the Indonesian martial art, have a long history in East Timor, with many students in the past fighting against Indonesia's military occupation.

They also became active clandestine members in supporting guerrilla fighters and some made significant contributions toward winning the country's independence in 2002.

Later, martial arts students became rivals and began killing each other in the streets as happened in 2006 during a violent political crisis that left dozens dead and tens of thousands displaced in the tiny half-island nation.

Hand cut off

In many villages across East Timor, students start learning pencak silat at age 13. Less popular martial arts, such as karate, kung fu, taekwondo and judo, are not banned.

Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao issued a resolution outlawing the popular clubs two months ago. He said he has tried to work with the groups for years to allow them to continue to operate peacefully, but said the original purpose and philosophy of martial arts has been lost in East Timor.

"I have no more mercy and no more patience," said Gusmao, who added he has tried to work with the groups since becoming the country's first president in 2002. "I cannot tolerate the situation anymore, and I cannot permit it anymore."

Gusmao said police and members of the military have been told to leave martial arts groups or be fired.

Some clubs have publicly handed over their uniforms to police in front of government officials, but police say some members continue to conduct their training secretly at night.

Monteiro said anyone caught violating the resolution will be punished under the law. Seven martial arts clubs were registered, but many others exist without the government's knowledge making it difficult to estimate the number of members nationwide.

Last month, one East Timorese student was killed at Widyagama University in Malang, Indonesia, and another had his hand cut off with a samurai sword by a martial arts gang member.

"I need justice because the suspects who cut off my hand have not yet been captured by the police," said Jacinto Cipriano Ximenes, aged 25, a final-year telecommunications student who plans to return to school and finish his studies this year.

Read more on:    east timor

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.