Thursday 9 August 2012

Cop concedes it's wrong to confiscate press cameras

An officer commanding a police arrest team during the Bersih 3.0 rally said that it is wrong for police to take away photographic equipment belonging to the media.

NONE“We cannot confiscate cameras from reporters,” ASP Ong Beng Keong (right) said when asked on the matter at the Malaysian Human Rights Commission’s (Suhakam) inquiry into alleged human rights abuses during last year’s July 28 pro-electoral reform rally.

Indeed he told the panel, that in his opinion, unless it is dangerous weapons, arresting officers are not supposed to confiscate any personal effects during an arrest.

Ong also agreed that while in custody or being transported, it is wrong for other officers to hit or hurt detainees.

However, he said that he and his team affected no arrests and saw no scuffles between cops and protesters.

All he heard were unconfirmed rumours that some cops were injured by protesters.

His orders were to use restraint and minimum force possible during arrests, but he said that it is only possible if suspects were cooperative, and if they fight back appropriate measures must be used to restrain them.

‘I saw nothing’
He was responding to queries from the three-person panel on police procedures and guidelines for arrests of persons during during the demonstration.

Ong is from the Cheras district police headquarters CID, and was ordered to command a 10-man arrest team during Bersih 3.0 and was stationed at Dataran Merdeka near the Dayabumi building.

His orders were to observe the crowd and if ordered to, to affect arrests.

However he said that his 11-hour duty stint during Bersih 3.0 was rather uneventful as he saw no incidents and took no actions.

His only ordeal was weathering the barrage of insults hurled at him and his men by protesters.

Ong’s testimony came after protesters came forward to claim that they were beaten up by cops before, during and after arrests as well as media personnel who had their cameras damaged and confiscated.

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