Many thousands of people attended Mr Rickard’s migration seminars

Attorney Justin Rickard ran a series of migration seminars in Jakarta, Indonesia in 1998 as the country was collapsing with the fall of the Suharto government. Many thousands of people attended Mr Rickard’s seminars which he kept presenting to help them even until the very last day.

He was in Jakarta giving immigration seminars and said people were climbing over each other to get tickets.

On the day he was interviewing clients from the seminars when he literally had to run for his life as his hotel was invaded and ransacked by an angry crowd of anti-government protesters.

Mr. Rickard and his wife Lisa spent a terrifying 30 minutes hiding in the car park of their hotel as hundreds of rioters invaded the building destroying everything in their path.

The couple were among a group of seven forced to flee their rooms and hide as an angry mob descended on the Cempaka Hotel, about 20 minutes drive from the city centre:

We were in our hotel about midday when we saw thousands of people coming down the road and everything behind them was burning. The army was coming towards them with batons and shields but when they saw how big the crowd was they ran away.

As the crowd get closer they threw rocks at parked cars and the hotel and staff told us we have to get out. The rioters invaded the  lobby and we could hear the noise, they were destroying everything. We ran into the darkness like cornered rats. We were petrified they would come down; they were like animals.

They got to the first car park level and started destroying the cars; we could see fire above us through a crack in the concrete.”

The rioters then moved to the bottom level and began attacking cars just 100m from where the couple were hiding.

“I thought we’d be beaten to death and I told Lisa I’d put my life on the line for her, “Mr. Rickard said. “I felt if I had to stand in front of her and get killed then that’s what I have to do.”

But with no more cars to destroy, the mob left the car park and the group  ran out through a rear door. The couple took shelter in houses recommended by hotel staff as the unrest continued before they were driven to the home of a colleague’s father.

His wife was visiting him in Jakarta at the time and they both fled the country the next day along with many hundreds of thousands of other people.

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