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Mob storms newspaper office, three reporters injured

(AJI/IFEX) - The office of the daily newspaper "The Orbit" in Medan, North Sumatra, was attacked on 3 May 2011 by employees of a company named in the paper's report as sponsoring gambling, media reports said. Three reporters were injured and a still undetermined amount of office equipment destroyed.

The "Jakarta Post" said that police had already arrested 18 of the suspects, including the director of PT Wahana Dewata Mandiri. Police also impounded a car and five motorcycles allegedly used by the suspects to get to the paper's office.

The West Medan police chief said that the company director, identified only as LS pending the filing of formal charges, and 17 employees, arrived at "The Orbit" office around 10:15 pm and proceeded to destroy office equipment, including personal computers, printers and desks. They were also accused of stealing two cell phones owned by "Orbit" employees.

Three reporters were also attacked, sustaining injuries.

The "Jakarta Post" said the incident stemmed from an article in "The Orbit" alleging that PT Wahana Dewata Mandiri was engaging in gambling by offering lottery tickets to its customers. Gambling is prohibited in Indonesia.

The "Jakarta Post" quoted "Orbit" editor-in-chief Atmadi as saying that with the suspects arrested, justice would be served. Atmadi added that the assault on the three reporters "caused not only physical injuries but psychological pain."

The newspaper's publisher, Makhsin, told http://www.detik.com that he would not rush into making any accusations about who had attacked them. "It is very likely that some people have been irritated by the news we ran. We leave the case to the police."

PT Wahana Dewata Mandiri director LS denied the accusation that he led the attack.

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