Indonesia: Citibank debt collectors arrested in death of client over credit card
In the Jakarta Post today, news that a Citibank employee and two debt collectors hired by the international financial institution are charged with murdering a customer in Indonesia. The man was the head of a local political party. He reportedly complained to the Citibank representatives about his credit card bill, which showed a higher balance than he expected (from about $7,825 to $11,500). By various reports, he came to negotiate the debt and was taken to a private room where he was questioned by the three suspects, then beaten to death.
Unable to handle the complaint, a Citibank employee and two debt-collectors, none of whom were named by police, took Irzen Octa to the fifth floor of the building where they killed him. “We found traces of blood on the curtains and walls,” Budi said, adding that Irzen’s body was found early Tuesday on the fifth floor.
An autopsy performed on Irzen showed he suffered damage to his brain. The three Citibank employees were named suspects in the murder case and could be charged with the Criminal Code on battery, which carries a maximum jail sentence of five-and-a-half years. Police said they would also question Citibank officials.
Citibank official Ditta Amahorseya declined to comment on the ongoing police investigation when approached by The Jakarta Post, but maintained that Citibank had and obeyed a strict code of ethics in regards to debt collection.
“All agencies’ employees representing us are obliged to obey [the code], including the obligation to deal with clients without using threats,” she said in an email sent to the Post. This is the second recent criminal case involving Citibank employees.
Though today is April 1, this is apparently no joke. Here’s another related AP item, via Forbes. It seems violent debt collectors are quite a problem in the country.