Yesterday afternoon a group of Palembang police attempted to bribe the manager of Aryaduta Hotel for five million rupiah.
They claimed that the Christmas function to be held later that night by 3000 local Christians was a gathering for worship and that Aryduta convention centre was not licensed as a place of worship.
The group of police threatened to shut down the function if the five million rupiah bribe was not paid by the hotel.
Due to the quick thinking and resolve of the manager, Mr Bramwell, the attempts by police to scavenge a bribe failed.
“I told them that they could shut down the function if they like but I would not pay them their bribe. Furthermore, that if they insisted on taking the money they could, but the whole conversation was being recorded by cctv cameras as evidence,” Mr Bramwell said.
A spate of similar incidents in Java in the last few weeks has seen churches and private homes being harrassed and intimidated by Islamic groups that some say have the support of police.
Mr Bramwell said he saw this incident as pure hypocrisy and discrimination because he regularly holds Muslim functions and has never been asked by police to provide a license.
“I couldn’t believe the police were looking to profit from this function because they were Christian. I asked the police if I need a license for my carol singers and my Christmas decorations,” he said.