Indonesia Police Detain 140 Men in Gay Club
LGBT groups say the gay community in Jakarta has been subject to an unprecedented wave of discrimination and attacks. Representational Image REUTERS/Ari Bowo Sucipto/Antara Foto

Indonesian police have detained more than 140 men in a weekend raid in what authorities described as a "gay sex party" promoted as 'The Wild One. The party was held at a sauna and gym venue in the capital of Jakarta on Sunday (21 May) evening.

A Briton and a Singaporean were among those detained, according to BBC. Participants reportedly paid about 185,000 rupiahs ($14; £10) to attend the event.

This incident took place a day before two men are to be publicly flogged for having same sex relations.

In a statement by Jakarta police, spokesman Argo Yuwono said officials had "detained 141 people who violated pornography laws".

He added that 10 suspects, including the owner of the club and several staff members, had been charged. The others were being questioned.

Offenders can face up to 15 years imprisonment under the anti-pornography law in the country. The maximum penalty for downloading pornographic material is four years in jail or a 2 billion rupiah (£115,694) fine.

Although homosexuality is not illegal in Indonesia, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community in the country has been subject to discrimination and attacks over the past 18 months. The incidents have sparked controversial comments from conservative ministers of the government.

Last month in Surabaya, a port city on the Java Island, the police had targeted a gathering of gay men in a hotel following a tip-off from neighbours. The 14 men who were arrested were forced to undergo HIV tests.

In Banda Aceh, two men were also arrested in late March and were convicted of sodomy under the province's Sharia law. The men were sentenced to 85 lashes, which will take place publicly in the provincial capital on Tuesday.

Aceh uses Islamic law as its legal code in addition to the national criminal code, and is the only Indonesian province that criminalises same-sex relations.

While the details of Sunday's raid were not clear, the arrests were likely part of a growing trend of intolerance toward the LGBT community in the world's largest Muslim-majority nation said Yulita Rustinawati from the LGBT activist group Arus Pelangi to the Guardian.

"It's been increasing for two years now," Rustinawati added, "It's bad for democracy, for freedom of expression and freedom of association. We're not sure what the government is trying to achieve. We are queer and we are not going away."