Thursday, August 02, 2007

Police Brutality

Does this image look familiar? Well, the last time I saw anything like it, it marked the birth of a new political party, Keadilan. However, it appears that police brutality has not been eliminated off the force much less their ability to respect our basic rights.

Mr Tung Ket Ming, through a relative, took his case to the DAP to complain about police mistreatment. On 18th July, I accompanied Tung to Sentul Police Station to lodge his police report on what happened to him. I spent some 7 hours to assist him to draft his report with my rusty Bahasa Malaysia as well as meeting various officers, where Tung was further questioned by investigating officers. His case was reported in the Chinese dailies, as well as Malaysiakini.

As explained in my Chinese column in Oriental Daily, Tung did not have the support of outspoken political parties and non-governmental organisations behind him to ensure that he remained fairly well-treated while in remand. In contrast, without belittling the intimidating experience Nathaniel Tan underwent, Tung suffered serious abuse by his police handlers.

I displayed Tung's photo to the audience during the forum "No Police State in Blogosphere, In Solidarity with Nathaniel Tan" not to make light of Nat's experience, but to emphasis the fact that for everyone like Nat, there are probably tens of others who have been subjected to serious injustice like Tung.

Tung, who allegedly committed an armed robbery in a mobile phone shop, was arrested at his house, taken to 3-4 different locations and beaten senselessly in each of those locations to extract a confession. He was punched and elbowed in the face, he was whipped with a rubber hose on his soles, his legs, his head and his neck. The police handlers even presented him with flying kungfu kicks. See the full police report below.

And twice when he was presented to the magistrate for remand, he was granted his wish to see a doctor, which was denied by the police in clear contempt of court upon his return to the lock up. Instead on his final evening in the cell, he was taken to a room of 6-7 police officers, including and particularly his investigation officer who was apparently in his 20s, assaulted him again for reporting that he was mistreated by the police to the magistrate.

Photo taken the day after he was released on bail

Tung and his wife was frightened out of their wits about making the police report for they feared further retributions. We had to convince them that the best course of action is to ensure that the report is made and the press alerted to ensure that their case will be taken up by the higher authorities and they will be protected from further uncalled for harrassment. For a few nights after he was released on bail, the couple dared not return to their own house for fear of retribution!

I have since accompanied Tung for 2 sets of identification parade at Sentul Police Station and at the KL Police Headquarters (last Friday and this Monday). He has since identified 5 of the perpetrators. We now await for the Police to take further actions.

This brings me to the question of the setting up of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC). Informal chats with the officers in-charge of this case have demonstrated clear difficulties they have in carrying out their tasks for the simple reason that they are stuck between a rock and a very hard place. By acting scrupulously against his fellow police officers, it'll only bring about feelings of discomfort while attempting to make light of the offence will bring injustice to the victim.

If not for the fact that a major political party is pursuing the case, backed by reports in the media (particularly the Chinese media), it will not surprise many if the case is just swept under the carpet.

Where is the IPCMC which was strongly recommended by the Royal Police Commission and what has happened to Pak Lah's repeated promise that it will be set up to ensure a disciplined and efficient police force? Nathaniel's some-kind-of-screwed-up-joke arrest and detention, Tung's inhumane beatings while under remand proves beyond doubt that an IPCMC is absolutely vital to ensure that the very people we have entrusted to preserve law and order in this country, our Royal Police Force are themselves competent, law abiding officers.

Or certainly, a police state, both in blogosphere as well as our physical world will be an inevitable outcome.

The Police Report is as follows:
Repot Polis Bertarikh 18/7/07

Saya, bernama Tong Ket Ming (I/C) beralamat () ingin menyatakan yang berikut:

  1. Pada 9/7/2007 lebih kurang pukul 8 malam, 3 orang yang tidak dikenali tanpa uniform telah menggari saya dari alamat di atas dengan secara ganas. Mereka juga kata adalah anggota polis dan menuduh saya terlibat dalam satu kes rompak dengan senjata api pada 28/6/2007.

  2. Mereka paksa saya mengaku kes rompak tersebut tetapi saya enggan.

  3. Seterusnya, mereka membawa saya ke Balai Polis Rawang untuk sekejap masa dengan kereta Pajero berwarna putih bernombor WKN 8234.

  4. Selepas itu, saya dibawa ke Balai Polis yang tidak dikenali di mana saya dipersoalkan di dalam bilik. Pada masa itu, saya diminta mengakui kesalahan, muka dan kepala saya ditumbuk secara keras dengan tangan dan siku oleh ketiga-tiga polis. Perut saya juga ditumbuk secara kuat dengan tangan dan disepak dengan kaki. Apabila saya cuba menghentikan seksaan tersebut, saya dipukul sekali lagi. Muka saya bengkak dan cedera parah. Mulut dan hidung saya juga berdarah.

  5. Selepas itu, saya dibawa ke Balai Polis Selayang, di mana saya dipersoalkan sekali lagi dan diminta mengakui kesalahan. Apabila saya enggan mengakui, saya diseksa sekali lagi. Kali ini, selain daripada ditumbuk, ketiga-tiga polis yang sama memukul kepala, leher, kaki dan tapak kaki saya dengan saluran paip getah berpuluh-puluh kali.

  6. Selepas itu, saya dipindah ke Balai Polis sentul dengan kereta yang sama. Di Balai Polis Sentul, saya diserah kepada pegawai siasatan (“IO”) dan seorang lagi anggota polis. Saya dipersoalkan sekali lagi, diseksa dan dipukul secara keras seluruh badan dengan tangan, siku, saluran paip getah dan kaki terutamanya oleh IO. Saya juga ditendang dengan cara “kungfu” - “flying kick”. Kesemua ini dijalankan di dalam bilik tertutup.

  7. Selepas itu, saya dibawa ke bilik membuat laporan awam dan diminta duduk di atas lantai di hadapan orang ramai. Satu pegawai polis menaip satu laporan (statement) dan selepas itu menyuruh saya menandatangi laporan tersebut. Saya enggan menandatangani laporan tersebut kerana saya langsung tidak boleh membaca dan tidak faham kandungan laporan tersebut. Pegawai tersebut naik darah dan menendang saya secara kuat di hadapan orang ramai. Oleh kerana saya dalam keadaan kesakitan teruk, saya menandatangani laporan tersebut.

  8. Pada pukul lebih kurang 3 pagi, saya dibenarkan menelefon bini saya oleh pihak polis.

  9. Pada malam itu, saya tidur di atas lantai dalam lock up.

  10. Pada pagi 10/7/07 saya dibawa ke mahkamah majistret Jalan Duta dan di remand polis selama 7 hari. Di hadapan hakim, saya meminta saya dapat menjumpai doktor kerana saya kesakitan teruk. Muka saya pun bengkak blue-black dengan teruk sekali. Hakim berkata bahawa dia akan memerintah pihak polis supaya membawa saya ke hospital untuk rawatan. Akan tetapi, saya tidak dapat menjumpai seorang doktor pun.

  11. Pada 16/7/07, sekali lagi saya dibawa ke mahkamah yang sama di mana saya di remand sehari lagi. Apabila hakim menanya kenapa muka saya bengkak dan cedera, saya kata saya dipukul CID. Saya meminta supaya saya dapat menjumpai doktor dan sekali lagi pihak hakim setuju meminta polisberbuat sedemikian. Akan tetapi, sekali lagi, permintaan saya tidak ditunaikan.

  12. Sebaliknya, pada petang 16/7/07, IO membawa saya dari bilik lock up ke sebuah bilik yang lain di mana ada lebih kurang 7 orang lagi anggota polis sedia menunggu. Dalam bilik tersebut, saya dipukul, ditumbuk dan ditendang sekali lagi dengan keras oleh pihak polis dalam bilik tersebut, terutamanya IO dan seorang lagi anggota polis yang tidak dikenali nama. Mereka kata bahawa saya dipukul kerana mengadu ke atas pihak hakim tentang kelakuan polis. Selepas saya dipukul, IO membagi amaran kepada saya bahawa dia akan menyuruh orang luar (bukan polis) mengancam saya bila saya keluar balai polis.

  13. Pada malam tersebut, isteri dan brother-in-law saya tidak dibernarkan berjumpa dengan saya.

  14. Pada petang 17/7/07 lebih kurang pukul 4, saya dijamin oleh isteri saya, ().

  15. Saya meminta supaya pihak polis dapat menjalankan kawat cam (identification parade) dengan segera.
Sometimes I wonder, if he had gone to any of the BN component parties to ask for assistance, what would have been the response they would have received. As I highlighted during my little speech at the forum, it is doing "little" things, helping those suffering from injustices such as this that makes my total switch to a political role a most fruitful and rewarding one. No amount of cash can buy that sort of sense of fulfilment.
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