Mafia Hukum Client Base

Mafia Hukum - The Client Base


Mafia Hukum and Reformasi

Even at the height of the Suharto era, the Mafia Hukum was probably not all-powerful and pervasive. Now especially in the era of Reformasi, many police, judges, and others would like to see their institutions professionalized and transformed to respect the rule of law. They have a tough battle against entrenched interests, however.


The reality of power

In the politics of institutions, power must be used to remain effective. In institutions where reformers are seeking change, the old guard Mafia Hukum must continually demonstrate power or risk losing it.

Money is one incentive to corruption and collusion, of course, but another incentive is simply continuous necessity to exercise control.

Not every case backed by the Mafia Hukum is about money. Always more important than money is the demonstration that the central actors have the means and the will to win.


Demonstrating power and protecting the client base

Earlier we said that Mafia Hukum promote illegal activities to make money, but that is not the entire story; Mafia Hukum also promote or protect illegal activities to assert power.

With Reformasi and active public support for often effective anti-corruption watchdogs such as the KPK, exposure after failing to protect one's base could end not only in officials being fired from office, but even in prison sentences.

Because the primary audience and clients for the Mafia Hukum are of course Indonesian citizens—especially considering that most expatriates are completely unaware of the existence of the Mafia Hukum—they almost always champion Indonesians in battles against expatriates regardless of the money involved.

Expatriates are among the easiest victims because they are largely unaware of what really happened to them, they usually speak Indonesian poorly, and they are unable to stir up significant interest from the Indonesian media or public.

This is why expatriates who report crimes to Indonesian police are so often disappointed in the results.