A member of the Indonesian Army Special Forces (Kopassus), who thwarted an alleged rape attempt in a public minivan earlier this week, has received an award and a free flight to his Papuan hometown in recognition of his actions.
Second Sgt. Nicholas Sandi Herawan, 24, earned instant fame after he foiled the alleged attempted rape of a 30-year-old woman while she was riding a public minivan (angkot) in Central Jakarta at about 11 p.m. on Monday.
The outgoing chief of Kopassus, Maj. Gen. Wisnu Bawa Tenaya, gave the award to Nicholas in Jakarta on Friday during a ceremony marking the former’s departure from the force and the appointment of the new commander, Maj. Gen. Agus Sutomo. Wisnu has been assigned to lead the Bali military command.
“Nicolas is of a small build, but he has big guts,” Wisnu said during the granting of the award, the name of which was not immediately clear.
He told other Kopassus soldiers to consider Nicholas a role model.
“He exercised his battle instinct to help [a member] of the public. Kopassus soldiers must show this high level of care about the public.
“Kopassus soldiers are select soldiers. They have to be able to carry out their duties in any kind of situation, either in [military] operations or peaceful regions. I hope there will be other Nicholases within the Kopassus force,” Wisnu went on.
On Thursday, Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo said his administration had decided to grant Nicholas a free flight to Papua in appreciation for his actions.
“I’ve instructed the transportation agency to grant him an award in the form of a free flight ticket, because I’ve heard that he really wants to go home to his hometown in Papua,” Fauzi said, as quoted by the official news site of the Jakarta administration, beritajakarta.com. “He should be a role model to many people.”
Nicholas was driving his motorcycle near the angkot when he heard a woman screaming inside the vehicle. He followed the angkot and banged his helmet against the minivan, asking the driver to stop. Other motorcyclists noticed what was happening and lent their assistance.
Realizing they would be unable to escape, the angkot driver and four other passengers who were allegedly attempting to rape and rob the woman pushed her out of the vehicle.
Nicholas asked his girlfriend, who was riding with him, to assist the victim by taking her to nearby Gambir police station while he continued the chase. The pursuit ended in Dukuh Atas, Central Jakarta, where Nicholas was able to apprehend the driver, identified as a 16-year-old with the initials A.A.
The suspect is now in custody at the Central Jakarta Police station. The four alleged accomplices managed to escape, along with the victim’s cellphone. Police later arrested two of them.