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Thursday, 9 November, 2000, 10:57 GMT
Suharto children quizzed on Tommy
Tommy Suharto arrives to answer a summons
Tommy Suharto faces an 18 month sentence
Indonesian authorities searching for the youngest son of former President Suharto have been told by his brothers and sisters that they have no idea of his whereabouts.

Police and journalists on the house-to-house search for Tommy
An army of police and journalists on the house-to-house search for Tommy
South Jakarta chief prosecutor Antasari Azhar said they had questioned two brothers and two sisters of Hutomo "Tommy" Mandala Putra, who is on the run from a jail term for corruption.

"All four of them claimed that they have no idea of Tommy's whereabouts. They also said that he could be reached only by telephone," Mr Azhar told the French news agency AFP.

If they had lied about their brother's whereabouts, Mr Azhar added, they could face criminal charges.

Mr Suharto's lawyers have also denied knowledge of his whereabouts.

Jakarta police said they were now heading to a villa on Jakarta's outskirts belonging to "Tutut" Siti Hardiyanti Rukmana, one of the Suharto daughters, to look for the 38-year-old millionaire playboy.

Embarrassment for government

Tommy's disappearance has proved an acute embarrassment for the government, which has come under heavy criticism for bungling cases against the Suharto family.

President Abdurrahman Wahid
Wahid called a meeting to discuss the Tommy issue
President Abdurrahman Wahid called a meeting with his attorney-general and the head of the national intelligence agency on Wednesday night.

ato discuss the Tommy issue said.

"The president said Tommy must be found," senior security minister Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said, adding a warning to Tommy: "Don't make any move which is against the law."

Fears of attack

Tommy was declared a fugitive on Tuesday after he failed to surrender to authorities on Monday.

He was convicted on 22 September of being involved in a land scam that cost the government $11m. Last week, President Wahid officially rejected his appeal for clemency.

Former President Suharto
The elder Suharto is also facing charges
Lawyers acting for Mr Suharto said he would not surrender unless his safety in prison could be guaranteed, saying he had received a call telling him he would be killed in jail.

They also said their client fears being attacked or sodomised in jail and wants 24-hour security.

Correspondents say his imprisonment is regarded as vital to Mr Wahid's campaign to clean up endemic corruption that flourished during Mr Suharto's 32-year rule.

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See also:

07 Nov 00 | Asia-Pacific
Police prepare to arrest Tommy Suharto
04 Oct 00 | Asia-Pacific
No pardon for Tommy Suharto
15 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
Profile: Suharto's playboy son
16 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
Police question Suharto's son
28 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
Suharto's fortune
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