Tanjung Balai amok case
Date November 2/3, 1918
Location(s) Tanjung Balai, Dutch East Indies
Killed 1
Injured 11+
Weapon(s) Parang

On November 2, 1918 a man who was varioulsy identified as a Javanese or Malay coolie killed one person and wounded at least eleven others, three of them seriously, in Tanjung Balai, Dutch East Indies.[1][2]

Some time between 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. the man, who was living in the area for three or four years and had previously worked for the Silau Toewa rubber estate, started attacking people with a parang, wounding in the process six men and five women, among them a Bengali, four Malay women, as well as several Chinese and natives. He also killed a Malay woman, whose arms were nearly chopped off and died shortly afterwards due to excessive blood loss.[3]

The murderer then fled into the nearby woods, but returned the next morning, wounded two more people, and then hid under a house. Although police cordoned off the area he managed to escape again into the jungle. On the morning of November 4 the starved man showed up in the yard of a European, where he was told by the gardener that he could not come in, as long as he was armed. When he threw away his weapon it was attempted to subdue him, but he escaped once more, just to be captured soon thereafter.

In custody the man explained that he had became mata gelap and thought everybody should die, after receiving a letter in which he was told that his parents had been murdered.[4]


  1. Short News, The Straits Times (November 11, 1918)
  2. Amok, Bataviaasch Nieuwsblad (November 5, 1918)
  3. Een amokmaker, Bataviaasch Nieuwsblad (November 15, 1918)
  4. Een amok-maker, De Sumatra Post (November 4, 1918)
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