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Tuesday, 16 January, 2001, 11:08 GMT
Police break into Suharto bunker
A special police task force carries a box of unidentified equipment to the house of Tommy Suharto on 15/1/01
Police needed special equipment during the operation
Indonesian police have managed to break into a room below the house of Tommy Suharto - the fugitive son of the country's former president.


The bunker is being cleared by two members of the police anti-bomb squad

Police detective
They believe the millionaire playboy could be hiding in an underground system linked to the bunker.

Tommy Suharto has been on the run since November, after being sentenced to 18 months in prison for his role in an $11m property scam.

The police are currently investigating the bunker, which took them two days to open using jack hammers and drills.

Jakarta police chief Harry Motolalu said two members of the police anti-bomb squad were searching for any suspicious objects.

"They are checking what the size of the room is, what it is used for," he said.

The police have said they suspect the bunker leads to eight underground points, including sites under President Suharto's house.

Storeroom

Officials discovered the site using geo-radar equipment to scan the grounds of the homes of former President Suharto and his children.

Tommy Suharto
Tommy Suharto was not at home when police called to arrest him
Police spent all day Monday trying to open the bunker, stopping to get more equipment to drill through thick concrete.

The Suharto family lawyer, Juan Felix Tampubolon, described the break-in as illegal, and said the defence team would take legal action.

He said the hidden room was a cellar used for storage and denied Tommy was hiding there.

Corruption

The 38-year-old has been missing since 3 November when prosecutors turned up at his home to take him to jail only to discover he had slipped out hours earlier.

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.

The search took another farcical turn a fortnight ago when it was said police had finally arrested him only to allow him to escape again.

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

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See also:

29 Dec 00 | Asia-Pacific
Tommy Suharto escapes - again
15 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
Profile: Suharto's playboy son
12 Oct 00 | Asia-Pacific
Suharto relative jailed for drugs
04 Oct 00 | Asia-Pacific
No pardon for Tommy Suharto
28 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
Suharto's fortune
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