Public Outcry as Student Killed in Motorbike Crash Blamed for Negligent Driving

As the deceased student’s family protests authorities’ decision to label him as a “suspect” of negligent driving, the case is being raised as yet another example of police impunity in Indonesia.
Koh Ewe
Hasya Atallah Syaputra, an 18-year-old student at the University of Indonesia, was killed in October 2022 after he fell from his motorcycle and was struck by the vehicle of a retired police general.
Hasya Atallah Syaputra, an 18-year-old student at the University of Indonesia, was killed in October 2022 after he fell from his motorcycle and was struck by the vehicle of a retired police general. Photo: Yulia Agnis, Unsplash

Hasya Atallah Syaputra, an 18-year-old student at one of Indonesia’s most prestigious universities, was heading back to his dormitory after winning a Taekwondo match when he was suddenly hit by a vehicle in South Jakarta.

Behind the wheel of the SUV was a retired police general, identified in local reports as Eko Setia Budi Wahono, who ran over Hasnya after the student fell off his motorcycle on Oct. 6, 2022.


As friends and family grieved over the loss of Hasya, a social science student at the University of Indonesia, they were blindsided by an announcement on Friday from authorities. The police have named the teenager as the sole suspect in the accident, accusing him of negligent driving. 

"Why was he made a suspect? He was the one who caused it,” Latif Usma, the traffic department director of the Jakarta Metro Police, told reporters at a press conference. “He fell and he was the one who caused the accident.” 

“This was because of his negligence, so he died.”

Police said that Hasya had swerved to avoid a puddle before he was struck by the SUV. They added that Eko’s car, which was in the next lane, was unable to avoid the collision. But many do not trust the police’s vindication of Eko. 

Hasya’s father said that Hasya was left on the road for about 30 minutes while his friends sought medical help. He also heard from Hasya’s friends at the scene that Eko had refused to drive the dying student to the hospital. 

The case has sparked anger among Indonesian netizens, many of whom see Hasya as the latest victim in a long line of police committing similar crimes with impunity in the country. Dwi Syafiera Putri, the student’s mother, told reporters that the family was “disappointed” at the police investigation and wanted Hasya’s case to be heard in court. 


“If the process has to start from the beginning, we are ready,” she said. “As long as it is transparent and everything is clear. So we know who the suspect is. Whatever the decision is in court.” 

The Jakarta Metro Police said on Monday that they have formed a fact-finding team comprising legal and transportation safety experts to investigate Hasya’s death further, reversing their previous announcement that investigations had come to a stop as Hasya, the only suspect in the case, has died. 

Melki Sedek Huang, the head of the university’s student executive board, told reporters on Saturday that they “clearly condemn” the verdict by law enforcement.

“The police are getting more violent and ruthless every day,” Huang said. “We are being shown again police officers who like to distort facts and use the legal process as a shield for crime.”

“For us, this phenomenon is like Sambo volume two.”

Ferdy Sambo, the former head of internal affairs in the Indonesian National Police, was charged with killing his bodyguard last July, then staging a coverup using a scapegoat. The case sparked widespread public anger, with activists describing it as the “worst scandal in the police’s history,”

Police investigations initially claimed that 27-year-old Nopryansyah Yosua Hutabarat was killed in a shootout with another officer in Sambo’s house. But as public pressure mounted, Sambo was charged with premeditated murder along with his wife and four other officers. A verdict in the trial is expected imminently, with prosecutors seeking life imprisonment.


According to Vishnu Juwono, an assistant professor of public administration at the University of Indonesia, the same institution as Hasya, the controversy over the case is yet another hit to the crumbling image of the country’s law enforcement.

“The case shows that there's still a strong culture of impunity for the law enforcement officer, whether they are still active [or not],” Juwono told VICE World News. “That’s causing the credibility of the police institution to recede.”

Juwono added that while it remains challenging to uproot this deeply entrenched culture of impunity among some of the country’s most politically powerful figures, criticism from civil society and local media could play a big part in determining the outcome of Hasya’s case.

“There will be a decisive action, especially from the head of the police, to contain this case so that it [will not] become more damaging to the political image of the police institution,” he said. “The head of the police has to respond to this public outcry.”

Follow Koh Ewe on Twitter and Instagram.