An arowana breeder in Bogor has reportedly lost billions of rupiah after at least 400 of the prized fish were stolen from his farm over time, with the case gaining national attention due to the breeder’s close association with megastar Irfan Hakim.
Irfan was present during a press conference at Bogor Police HQ on Tuesday, when the TV host shed tears for his friend, 68-year-old KE, who has been breeding arowana since 1974 but was recently betrayed by his own employees.
“I’m emotional because I also feel the pain that’s experienced by my best friend and teacher, Pak KE. He’s an arowana breeder who introduced this ancient Indonesian ornamental fish to the world,” Irfan said.
Irfan, who keeps numerous exotic animals as pets himself, said that his friend suffered a financial loss of up to IDR24 billion (US$1.658.258,40) from the theft. KE filed a police report back in February after noticing that the number of arowana in his farm was dwindling.
Bogor Police Chief Harun said that KE’s employee, identified as 30-year-old UG, began stealing arowana from the farm in Cibinong district, Bogor regency in February 2019. UG fished the arowana himself, assisted by two other employees, WH and UY. The prized fish were then collected by 29-year-old ES, who acted as the fence in the operation.
“[The arowana] were sold to the fence ES, who we have arrested. But the suspects also sold some of the arowanas themselves. Some [arowana] were small, some were large, and their prices ranged from IDR500,000 to IDR5 million (US$34.55 to US$345.53) each,” Harun said.
Police have so far arrested UG and ES, while WH and UY are still on the run. UG and ES have been charged with theft, and may face seven and four years in prison, respectively, for their roles in the crime.
In June 2020, Irfan posted a video of his visit to KE’s arowana farm on his YouTube channel, showing the huge scale of the operation.
This article, Arowana breeder loses IDR24 billion in large-scale fish robbery, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia’s leading alternative media company.