Indonesia's state railway, Kereta Api Indonesia, has begun stringing concrete balls over rail lines to prevent people from hitching free rides on top of its trains, according to local news reports.
The devices are called Goal Bola-bola , or goal balls, as they resemble soccer goals with the grapefruit-sized concrete balls strung from chains, according to a report in the Jakarta Post.
The railway said it resorted to using the concrete balls after previous anti-roof-rider efforts – including greasing the roofs, spraying roof riders with colored water, and detentions and fines – didn't stop the practice.
But a human rights group says the balls expose violators to a punishment as severe as death for a minor infraction.
“Picture this: If a student has to take the train, he or she would face the threat of being killed by the concrete balls. Now his right to get to school safely is simply violated,” Yosep Adi Prasetyo, a spokesman for the National Commission on Human Rights, told the Jakarta Globe.
The balls will only be used on lines that run locomotives, according to the Globe report. Lines with electric trains will use swinging doors that will allow the electrical connectors through, but not roof riders.
Adi told the Globe the real problem isn't freeloading riders, but that there aren't enough trains to accommodate demand.