7 Jul 2008


1 February 2007, Dili—United Nations Police made a sweeping arrest of 47 people late last night for riotous behaviour, possession of illegal weapons and suspicion of other crimes including homicide.

The arrests follow a two-week long investigation conducted by Dili District UNPol in Bari Piti and Hudi Laran, both stronghold areas of the martial arts groups PHST (Perguruan Silat Setia Hati) and Seven Seven. Jaime Xavier Lopes the head of PHST was among those arrested.

The search was conducted by Dili District investigators with the assistance of the International Security Force (ISF). UNPol seized numerous illegal weapons including dozens of batons, darts, spears, ram ambons, machetes and two home-made fire arms as well as a large supply of ammunition including home-made explosives.

Special Representative of the Secretary-General Atul Khare accompanied by the Deputy SRSG for Security Support and Rule of Law Eric Tan visited Dili District Police Headquarters late last night to see the weapons seized.

They congratulated Police Commissioner Rodolfo Tor, Deputy Police Commissioner Hermanprit Singh, Dili District Commander Antonio da Silva and all involved in the conduct of this successful operation.

The two UNMIT officials also thanked the ISF and the Timorese authorities for effective coordination and assistance. "Effective police action, response to the felt needs of the community undertaken with full observance of the laws, is essential to restore peace and security," SRSG Khare said. "I am deeply grateful to all police officers, UNMIT and PNTL who are willing under difficult and challenging circumstances, under great personal risks, to restore the climate of peace and security in this country. I am also indebted to the cooperation extended by the people of Timor-Leste and their authorities to make this operation a successful one."

The suspects will be held in custody pending further investigation.

For additional information, please contact: Allison Cooper, Spokesperson at +670 723 0453 or Donna Cusumano at +670 723 0749.