Ramadan raids begin in Indonesia

INDONESIA - Muslims across Indonesia began observing the holy month of Ramadan yesterday. And officials have warned nightclub operators and other entertainment outlets to strictly obey a circular issued by the tourism and cultural agency.

Mr Kukuh Hadi Santoso, the chief of Jakarta's Public Order office, told the Jakarta Globe that 225 officers, including those from the police and military, would spread across the city to make sure that the outlets abide by the order.

The edict requires about half of them to close for the month, while others are to be subject to reduced opening hours.

He said strict action will be taken against those flouting the rules.

Sanctions will range from administrative penalties and written warnings to being shut down and having operating licences revoked.

A total of 1,799 establishments are subject to the edict, Mr Kukuh said. Nearly 900 of them have been forced to close for the entire holy month, while the rest may open only from 8.30pm to 1.30am.

Nightclubs

Among the first category are nightclubs, discotheques, massage parlours and bars, with the exemption being bars that are part of hotel services.

The second category includes karaoke bars, billiard halls and live-music venues.

But all establishments will have to close on the first day of Ramadan, the 16th day, during the two days of Idul Fitri, which marks the end of the fasting month, and the day after the holiday.

Getting a beer during Ramadan can be hard as some bars wary of hardline spies want to serve only customers they know.

Some stop serving alcohol, while others try to keep hardliners away by putting blinds on windows, serving drinks in mugs instead of glasses and sneaking in customers through side doors.

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