Jakarta. All the elements were there: promises to multiply money through “supernatural means”, poisoned coffee, and serial killings.
The killer trio who stand accused of murdering at least nine people in Bekasi and Cianjur using poisoned coffee bear remarkable resemblance to Tubagus Yusuf Maulana, who was executed by the firing squad in 2009 for murdering eight people in the province of Banten.
Like the trio, Tubagus aka Usep, who died aged 40, claimed that he had the supernatural ability to multiply money and was assisted by a man named Sabirin aka Oyon to find people fool enough to buy his claim and surrendered their money.
When the victims demanded results, Tubagus invited them to his home in Rangkasbitung and served the unsuspecting guests poisoned coffee.
Tubagus and Sabirin killed five people on the night of June 22, 2007, and buried them in one hole in a forest in the district of Lebak.
On July 19 of the same year, the duo murdered three more people and buried the bodies near the first mass grave.
On March 10, 2008, the district court in Lebak convicted the duo of premeditated murder and sentenced them to death.
“I would rather die than spend the rest of my life in prison,” Tubagus famously said when asked if he would appeal the verdict.
He was executed by a 10-member firing squad at a forest in Lebak on July 18, 2008.
Sabirin had his appeal denied in October 2008 and is now awaiting his fate.
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The West Java trio offered a bit different story because seven of the victims had family ties with the ring leader, Wowon Erawan.
The 60-year-old allegedly ordered the murder of his three wives, son, two stepsons, and mother-in-law.
His accomplices included Solihin, 65, who police said Monday has executed eight people with coffee mixed with pesticide, and Dede Solehudin, 35, whose task was to collect money from their victims.
At least four bodies were buried in camouflaged graves near the homes of Wowon and Solihin in Cianjur.
Two of the nine victims were Indonesian migrant workers who had handed money to the trio to be multiplied, according to police briefings.
Police are still at the early stage of investigation into the serial murders and have identified seven bodies.