Some couples were on Friday arrested in Indonesia for celebrating Valentine’s Day, as stores were also punished for displaying condoms.
Two dozen of unmarried offenders were arrested alongside a German national.
Iman Hud, head of the local public order office, told AFP that “We caught the German with his Indonesian partner in a motel and they weren’t husband and wife so that’s why we arrested them,”
The unlucky lovers were quickly released after a lecture about the evils of pre-marital sex, but five sex workers caught in the dragnet would be sent to a rehabilitation centre, he added.
“These social illnesses must be prevented. We need to remind the public to uphold our culture and ethics,” Hud said.
Valentine’s Day is controversial in parts of the majority Muslim nation, with many Islamic clerics and conservative Indonesians criticising its Western roots and what they say is its promotion of pre-marital sex.
Still, many others practise a moderate form of Islam and celebrate the day with chocolates and flowers for their loved ones, and displays were set up at malls and cafés in the capital Jakarta.
Back in Makassar, however, authorities were checking to see if shops had complied with an earlier warning not to sell condoms openly and check identification cards to make sure buyers weren’t underaged.
“Condoms are for married adults,” public order chief Hud said.
“They’re not supposed to be displayed and sold openly, particularly near snacks for kids like chocolate.”