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Friday, 29 December, 2000, 11:33 GMT
Tommy Suharto escapes - again
Tommy Suharto
Tommy Suharto has been sentenced to 18 months
Indonesian police have finally arrested the fugitive son of former President Suharto - only to allow him to escape again.

The two-month hunt for Tommy Suharto took another farcical turn on Friday when it was revealed he had given police the slip after being nabbed in East Java.

President Abdurrahman Wahid
Mr Wahid said Tommy had pulled the wool over police eyes
President Abdurrahman Wahid recounted the embarrassing saga to worshippers at a mosque in Jakarta on Friday.

Multi-millionaire Tommy Suharto, 38, went on the run at the beginning of November after he was convicted for his role in an $11m property scam and sentenced to 18 months in prison.

Mr Wahid said that after he was caught, Tommy demanded to meet the president. He then indicated he had incriminating information on tape, prompting police to telephone Mr Wahid.

"I said, 'There is no tape. Just arrest him.' But when the police went back to Tommy, he was already gone," Mr Wahid added.

The president did not say when or precisely where the bungled arrest was made. But, he added: "We know where he is. When the time is right, he will be arrested."

Manhunt

The search for Tommy Suharto began when prosecutors turned up on 3 November to take him to jail only to discover he had slipped out hours before.

A massive international manhunt has been launched, but Tommy has continued to evade capture despite the fact he is one of Indonesia's most recognisable faces.

Police have searched the homes of former President Suharto and other family members several times in their attempts to track down the fugitive son.

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See also:

14 Nov 00 | Asia-Pacific
Police search Suharto home for Tommy
12 Oct 00 | Asia-Pacific
Suharto relative jailed for drugs
18 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
Suharto guards ordered to disarm
04 Oct 00 | Asia-Pacific
No pardon for Tommy Suharto
15 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
Profile: Suharto's playboy son
28 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
Suharto's fortune
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