22 May 2017

Indonesia arrests 141 men over 'gay party'

9:29 pm on 22 May 2017

Indonesian police have arrested 141 men attending what they called a "gay sex party" at a sauna in the capital Jakarta late on Sunday.

Men arrested in a recent raid stand in line during a news  conference at a police station in Jakarta on 22 May.

Arrested men stand in line during a police news conference in Jakarta on Monday. Photo: AFP

Police said attendees, including a Briton and a Singaporean, paid 185,000 rupiahs ($US14) to attend.

Indonesia has witnessed increasing hostility towards its small and low-profile LGBTQ community.

Homosexuality is not illegal under Indonesian law, except in conservative Aceh province.

But Jakarta police spokesman Raden Argo Yuwono said some of those detained could be charged under Indonesia's harsh anti-pornography laws.

"There were gay people who were caught strip-teasing and masturbating in the scene," he told BBC Indonesian.

Under the ambiguously-worded laws, putting on a live strip show for the enjoyment of the public could be construed as "pornography".

Last week, two men were sentenced to public caning in Aceh after being convicted for engaging in gay sex - in the first such ruling since tough anti-homosexuality laws were introduced there in 2014.

Earlier this month, Indonesian police arrested 14 people in the city of Surabaya for allegedly holding a so-called gay party. They could also face charges under anti-pornography laws.