KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 8 — Plainclothes police officers assaulted a 21-year-old man and fired a warning shot at him before arresting him on suspicion of being a lookout for a smuggling syndicate, a lawyer and lawmaker alleged today.
In a press conference, lawyer Roger Chin, Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah, and Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) executive director Sevan Doraisamy claimed that Lim Xiang Hui was a victim of mistaken identity.
According to a prepared statement from Lim, he was driving along Jalan Muadzam Shah, in Muadzam Shah, Pahang around 2am on January 24 when he noticed Perodua Myvi following him.
He said he then decided to make a U-turn but was cut off by the Myvi, after which one of the occupants fired a warning shot.
He alleged that he was then accosted and handcuffed, before being taken to a lorry did not recognise.
Six police officers then arrived and stopped three more lorries, arresting the driver of one.
“Upon checking, the policemen did not find anything and they instructed me and the lorry driver to stand so they can uncuff the lorry driver. As I was standing up, one of the officers — which was the one who had fired the gun earlier — kicked me on my left eye region,” Lim said in his statement.
Lim alleged that the officers then placed him back in the Myvi and took him to a remote wooded area where they continued interrogating him, with one officer allegedly placing a gun to the side of his head in order to coerce a confession.
He said he was then brought to the Muadzam Shah police station where it was finally revealed to him that he was suspected of being a “tonto (lookout)” for a cigarette smuggling syndicate and would be remanded for four days.
When he was produced at a magistrates court on January 27, he was charged with obstructing a public officer under Section 186 of the Penal Code and reckless driving under Section 42 of the Road Transport Act 1987.
He claimed trial to both.
Today, Chin said the police owed an explanation over the incident and must conduct an independent investigation, which he said Lim would assist.
“Our client is of the view that the public deserves to demand an explanation from the police as the unlawful manner of violence that has been visited on him could have cost him his life.
“I hope that the relevant police department will give protection to the victim in the case, and no one is above the law. We cannot tolerate violence especially from law enforcement officers,” said Roger.
Chin also insisted there would be physical evidence of the incident.
“Sometimes when a member of the public makes a complaint, the authorities will usually say ‘show us the proof’. In this case, we have all the proof.
“We have a shot being fired, which was uncalled for and unnecessary. So the person in possession of the pistol would have to account for the missing bullet in the chamber. I hope this is done according to the SOP.
Chin also said three of the officers involved during Lim’s alleged assault were over the ones who took his statement.
“These are important points to take note when proof is concerned. We hope that all these things will come out to the public and hope that this incident — pointing a gun at somebody’s temple, would be the first and last in the criminal history of Malaysia,” said Chin.