Human cage in Langkat Regent’s home in North Sumatra – at least 656 victims of slavery and torture

The existence of a human cage in the Regent of Langkat, Terbit Rencana Perangin Angin, was revealed to the public when the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) on 19 January 2022 raided the Regent’s house in connection with an alleged bribery case. During the raid, the KPK discovered the existence of a human cage and saw people in the cages. There were 65 people detained in human cages. Some had been there for one year, some for more years. The longest time was five years. All of them had their hair shaved off. Some of them were injured. According to Migrant Care, in the cages, the victims of slavery were tortured, stripped of their freedom of movement, and no longer human but property that Terbit’s family and men fully controlled. Some ‘Anak Kereng‘ suffered stress and disabilities and died. Kereng is the local term for cells. The people held in them are called ‘anak kereng‘.

The human cage was behind Terbit’s private house in Raja Tengah Village, Kuala District, Langkat Regency, North Sumatra Province. This house is 36 km from the capital of Langkat in Stabat. Terbit entered politics and was elected as chairman of the Langkat Regional Parliament in 2014 and became Regent in 2019. He then renovated his house extensively until it looked magnificent among the oil palm plantations. The cage where people were imprisoned is located at the back of the house.

Terbit initially joined a paramilitary organisation, Pemuda Pancasila, and became a palm oil entrepreneur. His company is PT Dewa Rencana Perangin Angin, named after his eldest son, who is the director. His biological brother, Iskandar Perangin Angin, is the commissioner. The company was located opposite the compound of his private home, separated by a road. It is in this company that the ‘Anak kereng’ were employed without pay.

According to the police investigation, the cage has been established in 2010. During that time, around 656 people lived in a cage. They were victims of slavery, forced labour, torture and human trafficking. However, Terbit always claimed that the cage was a place for counselling drug addicts. The people held in the cage were victims of drug abuse, gamblers, thieves and runaways.

The victims living in the cages were also often tortured. Police found as many as six people disabled as a result of torture. Three other people died. The forensic team of Bhayangkara Medan Hospital has also demolished the graves of three residents who died from torture in the cage. 

Victims’ testimony

Suprapto (not his real name) had lived in the Langkat regent’s prison. He entered the place on 6 June 2021 because of a drug case; in that place, there was never any counselling about narcotics. Health checks were also rare. There were also never urine tests. When he was first put there, Suprapto was beaten by the guards. There were about ten times he was beaten in the cage. He was asked to take off his pants and lay on a nettle log. After that, the guards beat him, kicking his chest. 

Then they left him in the cage for two weeks. When he recovered, he was hired by the palm oil company PT Dewa Rencana Perangin Angin. Suparto worked for about nine months without pay, working every day and with no days off. He was usually taken out of the cage and went to work from 6.30 am until 5.30 am the following day. Sometimes he returned to work at midnight. 

Suprapto managed to escape but was caught again. The second time he was hit, his shirt was pulled. He tried to run but could not. The men managed to put him in a car and took him back to the cage. When he got to the cage, he was beaten with a hose. According to him, this happened to all the inmates in the cage. Once upon a time, the guards took needles and burned them on his genitals. 

Another victim, Parman (pseudonym), escaped after eight days in the cage. I often saw my seniors beating him. The guards of the cell and the people who entered the cage first tortured and beat him for no reason. When he was there, he woke up at 6 am, then had breakfast, and after that, each resident of the cage did their activities. He worked from 7.30 am until around 5 pm. After work, he took a shower and returned to the cage. 

Three dead due to torture

Three victims held in the cage died. One was Abdul Sidik, who entered the cage on 14 February 2019 and died on 22 February 2019. Another death victim was a man with the initial “U”. Another victim of torture who died was 35-year-old Sarianto Ginting. He entered the cage on 12 July 2021 and died on 15 July. His sister, Sariandi Ginting, said that she deliberately handed over her brother to the “rehabilitation centre” owned by Terbit Rencana Perangin-Angin because she was overwhelmed with taking care of him. His brother had dabbled in drugs since junior high school.

On 12 July 2021, four tall and slightly chubby men dressed all in black dragged Sarianto into the car after sunset. Although his brother rebelled and howled for help, Sariandi let him go. The car soon drove away from their home in Binjai. Before handing over his brother, the gang asked him to sign a statement: If the person undergoing rehabilitation becomes ill or dies, the family has no right to make any claims. Sariandi hoped Sarianto would be cured of his drug addiction, but he got his brother’s body three days later. 

A kereng boy, Ucok (not his real name), witnessed Sarianto’s torture. The night Sarianto arrived in the cage, Ucok had just been forcibly picked up from his parent’s house after escaping and thrown back into the complex of the Langkat Regent’s residence. It is a mutually agreed rule between the cage and the parents of the children that the cage supervisor has the right to look for prisoners who have escaped if they have not completed one year of “rehabilitation”. Ucok had seen Sarianto with about 30 people in one cage.

That night the Regent’s eldest son, Dewa Rencana Perangin-Angin, came down to the cage behind Terbit’s house. “Which one is the boy who just came in?” Dewa said. His men pointed to Sarianto. In kereng, there was a “tradition” that new residents had to undergo an introduction from several supervisors. The kereng children call it “di-mos”. Usually, the newcomer is whipped with a compressor hose and told to hang like a monkey in the cage. The kereng children call it “hanging monkey”.

“What did you come here for?” asked Dewa.

“Because I drank tuak (traditional drinks)!” Sarianto replied.

Dewa didn’t believe him and asked the same question.

“Because of drinking tuak!” said Sarianto, repeating the same answer. Dewa was annoyed and furious.

“Take him out!” he ordered. 

Three guards took Sarianto and beat him with a timber beam. They punched him in the face with their fists, kicked him repeatedly, and dripped burning plastic on his back. On Dewa’s orders, Sarianto was beaten for almost an hour that night. After that, he was thrown into a pond located opposite the cage. However, after being lifted from the pool, there was no sign that he was still alive. That night, some supervisors at the cage took care of Sarianto’s death and sent him home.

The cage was an open secret

All public officials, including the police, knew about it. The Ministry of Law and Human Rights awarded Langkat as a “district concerned with human rights” in 2019, even for three consecutive years, including under the leadership of Terbit. Terbit did not hide the existence of the cage from the public. In a video uploaded on account of a close relative (Tiorita Rencana), Terbit is seen visiting the location of the cage. The video includes Terbit’s interview with a civil servant. Terbit said, “I want to say that it is not rehabilitation. It is counselling (coaching) that I have done so far to foster people who abuse drugs. If you ask me, we have been doing it for about ten years. It’s pretty spacious; the only place we provide them is in three buildings for their resting site. All treatment is free for people who are drug users. They do not pay. Their families escort some, and some ask to be picked up. We have treated approximately 21300 patients because we treat around 100 people daily.”  

In the video interview, Terbit said his wife helped manage the place. His wife oversaw the food and health of the cage residents. Terbit never disclosed that those who were fostered were employed without proper wages. 

The Witness and Victim Protection Agency (LPSK) found several TNI / Polri members allegedly involved in the torture at Terbit Rencana Perangin-Angin’s human cage. The role of these officers is said to have carried out persecution and picked up the residents of the cage who escaped. The North Sumatra Police in May 2022 had even imposed internal sanctions on five police officers. The punishments they received varied, ranging from demotions, delays in promotion, and transfers to not receiving periodic salaries. The five people were members of the Langkat Police Station, and one was a member of the Binjai Police Station. They were sanctioned because they were aware of the existence of a human cage at the house of the Regent Terbit Rencana but did not report it to the unit or the leadership.

Criminal proceedings of the perpetrators

Commissioner of Komnas HAM, Choirul Anam, in an interview in March 2022 revealed that Komnas HAM concluded that slavery, trafficking, torture, and forced labour had occurred. Torture or cruel and degrading treatment is not only a physical matter but also attacks honour. Attacking honour is a variety of tigers, including dog cages; attacking the sexual organs is what we categorize as degrading in addition to the violent treatment. 

According to Choirul Anam, the perpetrators must be charged not only with the Human Trafficking law (TPPO) but also with the Criminal Code, especially the article on violence and article 55 because this article allows for the deepening of the case and targets many people. Because article 55 reads order to do, facilitating, participating in doing. He assessed that, on average, those who are currently suspects (defendants) only carry out the meaning of field actors, but those who order to do it and facilitate doing it had not been reflected. According to Komnas HAM, the Number of suspects should increase. In Komnas HA M’s records, there should be 16 to 19 people. 

The police initially named eight suspects, namely: 

  1. Terang Ukur Sembiring (coach in the cage), 
  2. Junaidi Surbakti (guard in the cage), 
  3. Iskandar Sembiring (escorting people to the cage), 
  4. Hermanto Sitepu (accompanying people to take their family members to the cage).
  5. Then Razisman Ginting (guard or knowing the incident of the death of the victims), 
  6. Hendra Surbakti (worked at Terbit’s factory and knew that the residents of the cage were employed at the factory), 
  7. Dewa Peranginangin, son of Terbit Rencana (tortured the cage dwellers),
  8. Suparman Peranginangin (guard of the cage).

The eight men have been on trial at the Stabat District Court since July 2022. Later, investigators also named Terbit Rencana Peranginangin as a suspect because he owned the place and was responsible for the existence of the cage. He is suspected of violating Article 2, Article 7, and Article 10 of Law Number 21 of 2007 concerning the Eradication of the Crime of Trafficking in Persons. Terbit is also charged with Article 333 of the Criminal Code, Article 351, Article 352 and Article 353 of persecution that resulted in the death of the victim, as well as Article 170 of the Criminal Code. In addition to being published, the eight suspects are currently being tried at the Stabat District Court.

TNI Commander General Andika Perkasa said that 10 TNI members were suspects in this case. Of these, five TNI soldiers have been detained. The five are SG, AF, LS, S, and MP. “Currently, the five are detained at Staltahmil Pomdam Medan. Five other TNI members have not been detained because investigators are still collecting additional evidence. Regarding the TNI members who were detained, Donald did not elaborate on where they served. However, Donald emphasized that the case file had been submitted to the Military Oditurate (Otmil) Medan. His party fully offers this case to the team that the TNI Headquarters have formed, said Head of Military Regional Information (Kapendam) I / Bukit Barisan (BB), Colonel Inf Donald Ericsson Silitonga. There is no further information regarding the legal process for perpetrators from the military. 

Detailed Case Data
name of the location: former Langkat Regent’s private home (3.509926874058146, 98.44126935190388)
administrative region: Indonesia, North Sumatra Province, Langkat Regency, Kuala District, Raja Tengah Village
total number of victims: 656
period of incident: 01.01.2012-19.01.2022
perpetrator: police
perpetrator details: former Regent of Langkat
Issues: torture, ill-treatment, extra-judicial killings, slavery
Sources:,,,,,,,,, Further HRM News:

NumberName, DetailsGenderAgeGroup AffiliationViolation
1Sarianto Gintingmale34unknown torture, ill-treatment, slavery, execution
1Abdul Sidikmaleunknown unknown torture, ill-treatment, slavery, execution
1unknown maleunknownunknown torture, ill-treatment, slavery, execution
653Unknownunknown unknownunknown torture, ill-treatment, slavery