Jakarta Starts Demolition of Kalijodo Red-Light District

The Jakarta administration started demolishing the notorious red-light district of Kalijodo, North Jakarta, on Monday (29/02) morning without resistance from residents.

At least 10 excavators began the process of tearing down at least 115 makeshift buildings and permanent homes in the area at 7.30 a.m. Officials at the scene were met with no struggle or protests, thanks largely to the Jakarta government’s comprehensive strategy in preparing for the eviction, which included drug raids, cutting off the area’s electricity and detaining prominent local figure Abdul Aziz, better known as Daeng Aziz.

Some 5,000 officers from the Jakarta Police, Indonesian Military (TNI) and Public Order Agency were deployed to safeguard the demolition, said Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. M Iqbal.

“If residents insist on staying [in the area], we urge them to avoid using violence; please take legal action. Anyone who uses violence will be firmly dealt with,” Iqbal told BeritaSatu TV.

Dozens of residents are still refusing to move from their homes, he said, adding that police are still working to persuade them to leave.

According to North Jakarta mayor Rustam Effendy, at least 198 families have been moved from Kalijodo to their new homes at the city-owned, low-cost apartment complex Marunda in Cilincing, North Jakarta. Another 86 families now reside in East Jakarta’s low-cost apartment in Pulo Gebang.

Only residents holding Jakarta ID cards are eligible for an apartment unit; others will be sent back to their respective hometowns.

Some 1400 people live in Kalijodo.

Because of the demolition, traffic from Jalan Gong Raya heading to Jalan Bandengan Utara is being diverted to Jalan Kapuk Muara, while traffic from Jalan Bandengan Selatan heading to Jalan Teluk Gong Raya is being directed to Jalan Jembatan 3 and Jalan Jembatan 2.

“The Angke 1 toll exit will be closed and vehicles are diverted to the Empang 2 exit,” said Jakarta Police traffic chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Budiyanto, adding that Jalan Pangeran Tubagus Angke heading to the Kalijodo area will be closed as well.

The Jakarta government is on a mission to clean up the city by demolishing illegal settlements built, starting with Kalijodo — notorious for prostitution, alcohol and gambling. The four-hectare area was previously cleared in 2002, but residents were quick to return and rebuild their bars and brothels.

Kalijodo landed on City Hall’s radar after it was discovered that the driver responsible for a fatal crash in West Jakarta on Feb. 8 had reportedly been drinking at the red-light district prior to the incident.

Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama urged Jakartans to report illegal settlements, including offices and apartments, built on land designated for open spaces.