The Mines at Ombilin (West Sumatra)
The Mines at Ombilin (West Sumatra)
Call number:
BG C15/992
Forced labour is predominant. Although the number of free workers [= contractors] has grown over the past few years, in 1900 chain gangs performed 585,000 of the 827,000 shifts... In 1899 the desertion rate was extraordinary high, at times more than a hundred a month. The percentage of sickness and mortality was equally high.
Opium smoking, theft, murder, and pederasty are undeniable and difficult to counter. Theft is not as widespread as expected in a place full of criminals of the lowest kind. But the frequency of murder is much worse. Envy, old feuds, jealousy about another man's wife, or a youthful convict are some of the reasons for murder. In 1901 16 murder cases occurred in an average population of 2400 convicts.' (Uit Onze Koloniën pp 32-34)