Kupang, E Nusa Tenggara (ANTARA) - East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) Regional Police is committed to taking action against perpetrators of illegal levies in areas impacted by the flash flood in Kupang District.

"We will tackle anyone who commits a crime at the disaster site," NTT Police Chief Inspector General Johanis Asadoma stated here on Wednesday.

According to Asadoma, the cracking down on illegal levies was a follow-up on the Kupang District Head's directive for police officers to deal with notorious illegal levies that occurred in the areas impacted by natural disasters, especially near damaged bridges in Kupang.

However, as of Wednesday, Asadoma said he had not received any reports of illegal levies in the impacted areas. Nevertheless, he said that officers from the Kupang Police Station have been readied at the disaster sites, especially near bridges.

"Police personnel are on standby there to help the community, especially those who want to cross (the bridge)," he added.

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Kupang District Head Korinus Masneno urged police officers to conduct surveillance and monitoring at the location of damaged bridges to anticipate illegal levy activities.

Usually, these illegal levies are demanded by the perpetrators in turn for the help they give to residents when crossing the disaster sites.

"We ask the Kupang Police Station to help monitor the flooded sites, so that no persons will collect illegal levies because they help the residents cross the site," Masneno stated.

During disaster situations, he pointed to the presence of irresponsible people, who demand certain sum of money from residents looking to pass through the impacted areas.

"In a disaster situation like this, there must be a sense of empathy from every citizen to help each other and not collect burdensome levies. If it is given voluntarily, there is no problem, but if there is coercion, then it can be a problem," he explained.

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Translator: Kornelis K, Kenzu
Editor: Yuni Arisandy Sinaga
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