JAKARTA: Indonesian police said late Friday they want a ban on gay dating apps in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country after a pedophile ring allegedly used popular service Grindr to pimp boys.
It was the latest move by Indonesian authorities against homosexuals, who have faced a sudden backlash this year, with the government recently declaring there is “no room” in the country for the gay community in response to criticism from activists.
Authorities last week busted an online pedophile ring they said allegedly linked adult men to mostly teenage boys, and arrested three suspects. Police said they discovered Grindr on one of the suspects’ iPads, and believe he had used it to pimp boys.
Users of Grindr, generally gay men, are able to locate and view photos and brief profiles of other users in their immediate vicinity and arrange to meet them.
Agung Setya, the police’s director of economic and special crimes, said police had now found 18 other apps similar to Grindr in use in Indonesia, and are asking the communications ministry to ban them.
He said police “hope that, with the authority the communications ministry has, it will make the right decision and impose a ban”.
There was no immediate comment from the ministry or from Grindr.
At the height of the backlash against the gay community in February, the government had also demanded that all instant messaging apps remove same-sex emoticons or face a ban.
Indonesia’s Constitutional Court is also considering a petition from Islamic activists to make gay sex a crime.
Being gay is not illegal in Indonesia and, prior to the backlash, members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community had been able to quietly get on with their lives.