Cynthiara Alona on a file photo taken on Jan. 30, 2015, left, and when she becomes a criminal suspect at the Jakarta Police headquarters on March 18, 2021. (Beritasatu Photo)
Tangerang Hotel Penalized after Owner Charged with Covert Prostitution
BY :BAYU MARHAENJATI, CHAIRUL FIKRI
MARCH 23, 2021
Jakarta. A hotel in Tangerang, Banten, has been sealed off by local officials and could face permanent closure after police arrested the owner for allegedly luring girls into prostitution.
The owner has been identified as actress Cynthiara Alona who has starred several horror movies. She has been in police custody since Thursday on charge of running covert prostitution at her hotel involving underage girls.
The hotel, named after the owner, was sealed off by the Tangerang Municipal Police on Monday based on recommendation from the Jakarta Police who handle the case and the mayor.
“Alona Hotel is now officially sealed off for violating the law,” municipal police head Agus Hendra told reporters at the scene on Monday.
“We will keep an eye on other hotels and apartments which may also run prostitution in Tangerang."
Tangerang Mayor Arief Wismansyah has earlier threatened to revoke the hotel’s permit.
The Jakarta Police raided the hotel last week and discovered more than 43 women and girls working as prostitutes.
Alona was named suspect along with hotel manager Abdul Azis and a man identified by initials D.A. who is accused of being a pimp.
The hotel owner is involved in the crime with a motive, police have said.
“She has argued that during the Covid-19 outbreak, hotel occupancy rate has been plummeting and she needed some other way to cover operational costs,” Jakarta Police spokesman Chief Comr. Yusri Yunus said.
The alleged pimp has approached many underage girls by promising them a job, but they ended up as prostitutes for hotel guests, the officer added.
When police raided the hotel on Jalan Lestari, all its 30 rooms were occupied by many underage girls and adult men, he said.
“The tariff varied from Rp 400,000 to Rp 1 million,” Yusri said, adding that the number of suspects is very likely to grow after investigation is concluded.
“There are 15 victims of underage girls aged between 14 and 16 from various regions,” he said.
The victims have been transferred to several institutions under the Social Affairs Ministry for medical help and counseling to overcome the ordeal.
The girls were introduced to hotel customers through social media platform MiChat. Yusri said the hotel has become a place for forced prostitution for at least three months.
The three suspects are also charged under the child protection law which carries a maximum punishment of ten years’ imprisonment.
Apolos Djara Bonga, an attorney for Alona, said that just because his client owns the hotel, it doesn’t necessarily mean that she has a role in the crime.
“Police may have a different opinion but to me it’s too premature to say that she is involved,” the lawyer said.