Jan 23, 2007

'Cops used excessive force on anti-toll demonstrators'

Just say TAK NAK! to toll?

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(The Sun) PETALING JAYA (Jan 22, 2007): Police have been accused of using excessive force to arrest demonstrators who were about to hold a peaceful protest against toll hikes at the Cheras toll plaza yesterday.

DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said the party would lodge a complaint to the Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) and was considering legal action against the police force.

In a press conference at the Selangor DAP office today which was attended by four men who claimed they were beaten up, a short video clip was also shown of 28-year-old manager Ho Chee Loong being assaulted during his arrest.

The four - who showed bruises and scratches on their bodies - are members of Bandar Mahkota Cheras Open Access Road Action Committee (BMC).

The committee was formed by the residents after their only access road to the township was allegedly blocked illegally by Grand Saga, the Kajang-Cheras Highway concessionaire. As a result, they were forced to pay toll.

Chee Loong and his brother Chee Hui, 27, a technician, were arrested together and were allegedly roughed up when they struggled.

Chee Loong said the policemen, who were in plainclothes, had no reason to use force against them as they were unarmed and were not violent.

He alleged the policemen hit him in the groin when he struggled.

"They also beat me with batons and bare hands. My shirt was torn by them," he claimed, adding that he was given outpatient treatment in the Kajang Hospital and given a three-day medical leave.

The video-clip showed Chee Loong and Chee Hui being dragged into a police truck. The former was later seen being punched several times by an unidentified police officer.

BMC chairman Tan Boon Wah, 37, and Tan Han Kuo, 40, a businessman, also accused police of arresting them without giving them sufficient time to disperse.

The Sunday demonstration, where 21 protesters were arrested, was the third demonstration organised by Protes - a coalition against the toll hikes at five private highways in the Klang Valley from Jan 1.

Those arrested included Parti Keadilan Rakyat information chief Tian Chua, DAP's Ronnie Liu and PAS treasurer-general Dr Hatta Ramli.

Police did not arrest anyone in the last two demonstrations held at the Sunway City toll plaza and Gombak respectively.

Kajang police chief ACP Rosli Md Nizam, when contacted, said he had not viewed the video clip.

He said Ipoh Timur MP Lim Kit Siang and Guan Eng had met him on Sunday in the police headquarters over the detention of the protesters but did not raise the allegations with him.

"The assembly was illegal as they had no permit and we acted according to the law. Minimum force was used when some resisted arrest. They struggled violently when my men tried to handcuff them," he said.

He added that four of those detained complained of health problems and were promptly taken to the Kajang Hospital where they were treated and released. He added their condition was not serious as they would otherwise have been warded.

Police had recorded statements from all those detained. Investigation papers will be handed to the Attorney-General's Chambers

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