Indonesia: Citibank debt collectors arrested in death of client over credit card

In the Jakarta Post today, news that a Citibank employee and two debt collectors hired by the international financial institution are charged with murdering a customer in Indonesia. The man was the head of a local political party. He reportedly complained to the Citibank representatives about his credit card bill, which showed a higher balance than he expected (from about $7,825 to $11,500). By various reports, he came to negotiate the debt and was taken to a private room where he was questioned by the three suspects, then beaten to death.



Unable to handle the complaint, a Citibank employee and two debt-collectors, none of whom were named by police, took Irzen Octa to the fifth floor of the building where they killed him. "We found traces of blood on the curtains and walls," Budi said, adding that Irzen's body was found early Tuesday on the fifth floor.

An autopsy performed on Irzen showed he suffered damage to his brain. The three Citibank employees were named suspects in the murder case and could be charged with the Criminal Code on battery, which carries a maximum jail sentence of five-and-a-half years. Police said they would also question Citibank officials.

Citibank official Ditta Amahorseya declined to comment on the ongoing police investigation when approached by The Jakarta Post, but maintained that Citibank had and obeyed a strict code of ethics in regards to debt collection.

"All agencies' employees representing us are obliged to obey [the code], including the obligation to deal with clients without using threats," she said in an email sent to the Post. This is the second recent criminal case involving Citibank employees.

"Citibank debt collectors allegedly kill client" (Jakarta Post, via BB Submitterator thanks orangny)

Though today is April 1, this is apparently no joke. Here's another related AP item, via Forbes. It seems violent debt collectors are quite a problem in the country.


  1. The code of ethics mentioned here prohibits using threats in collection of debt. Maybe killing is OK.

    1. Presumably, if you say ‘I am going to kill you if you don’t hand over the money’, then when they don’t, you do, that makes it a promise, not a threat.

  2. “maintained that Citibank had and obeyed a strict code of ethics in regards to debt collection”
    I sure would like to read that code. It seems to involve the fatal beatings of their customers.

  3. See Loan Shark.

    I haven’t personally encountered it, but apparently it’s big business, in America and around the world.

    The Kefauver Committee determined that organized crime on the Eastern seaboard amounted to a tax on the populace — 5%, maybe 10%, I forget the stated figure. Bad enough that I can’t help thinking of organized crime as a state within a state. (Assuming — pace JFK, RFK, et. al. — that organized crim has not already metastasized into the full-blown State. Yes, Richard Milhouse Nixon, I’m thinking of your tortured ghost.)

  4. The murderers are liable, sure, but certainly Citibank needs to be investigated for liability. I find it very unlikely that Citibank would hire thugs with a misapprehension of what those thugs will do. Citibank directly benefits from the actions of these thugs. Encouraging violence or turning a blind eye to it should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, in both civil and criminal court.

  5. You say “here’s the kicker: if the three suspects are found guilty, the maximum sentence (at least according to this Jakarta Post article) is only five-and-a-half years.”

    But I think you misread the article. Capitalisation added below for emphasis:

    “The three Citibank employees were named suspects in the MURDER case AND could be charged with the Criminal Code on BATTERY, WHICH carries a maximum jail sentence of five-and-a-half years.”

    So the BATTERY charges carry a maximum jail sentence of 5.5 years, but they are *ALSO* named suspects for MURDER, which, I’m guessing, carries a longer possible sentence.

    1. So the BATTERY charges carry a maximum jail sentence of 5.5 years, but they are *ALSO* named suspects for MURDER, which, I’m guessing, carries a longer possible sentence.

      This being Indonesia the sentence for murder could be substantially shorter than the sentence for battery, though the last five minutes would be pretty unpleasant.

  6. Corruption is rife there, if they know any movers and shakers they can sidestep a lot of the judicial system.

  7. Doesn’t surprise me in the least. Just wonder how long it’s going to be before a bill is introduced in Congress allowing that here in the US.

    Cause we all know that poor Citibank is hurting for money.

  8. Citibank is an easy target of condemnation. But it’s not THE target here. That would be extremely lazy of you. The murderers should be the target of your mockery and ire.

    There are sweet old ladies that work for Citibank. There are kind people. There are people just trying to get by. So while broad strokes and generalizations serve your attempts at sensationalism, they do not paint what Citi is.

    1. they do not paint what Citi is.

      A company that apparently loves it some anonymous astroturf, amirite?

    2. Yes, there are nice people working for Citibank. Unfortunately, they hired MAFS & GANGSTERS to be their “bankers” too. That is a very UNWISE decision by the directors.

  9. Correct me if I’m mistaken but that is some of the best damn astroturf I’ve seen in a while.

    In all probability there are ‘sweet old ladies’ working for citi but my suggestion to them is that they should find a better place to work. Sure that may not be so easy and I may seem to be an arm-chair idealist but in all reality if they really are ‘sweet’ then they should have all the moral compunctions in the world about continuing to slave away for such gross evilness.

    This sort of behavior should disgust everybody, especially those that work for this apparently evil organization.

  10. No surprise there.

    Indonesia has been a fast growing credit card market, with virtually in every shopping centre or other place you might find a credit card stand and actively offered credit to everyone. Telemarketers of credit card company has been very active, and competition is fierce.

    However, these activities are not regulated, and basically the credit card companies are shown to even hire mafias and gangsters to collect debt. Significant profane words are sprouted when they call you to what supposed to be a reminder call. They will even come to you, break in your property, and demand that you pay them for coming there, as well as their credit. Basically almost every complaints I’ve ever heard about credit cards is the way the debt collector acts.

  11. You’re talking apples and oranges here. Indonesia has Sharia compliant lending laws. Just a tad different then American laws.

  12. I am from Indonesia, I feel ashamed by the behavior of Indonesia that justifies any means to get a lot of money..

  13. Who would ever have guessed that an organization that handles money for terrorists would stoop to such low levels?

  14. A few days ago, another CitiBank employee in Indonesia was arrested by the police for manipulating customer’s money to enrich herself.

    Her name is Melinda Dee, you can easily get the news from Google with keyword: “Melinda Dee CityBank”. She’s hot and owns a hummer! (also a Ferrari and Mercy).


  15. What would it take to indict Citibank itself for criminal behavior? This was during business hours, Citibank employees on the clock. How is it that the employer is allowed to distance themselves from these guys?

    “Limited Liability” is right!

  16. Bank of America is upset they didn’t think of this first. RIAA laughs at the banks for not using mafia methods sooner.

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