Saturday 16 July 2011

Bersih tee lands Kuching lawyer in police station

Kuching police saw red this morning when they spotted lawyer Emeric Teo in a Bersih 2.0 T-shirt at a shopping complex and arrested a him at once.

Their action interrupted his breakfast appointment with Batu Lintang state assemblyperson See Chee How.

Teo had just sat down with about 15 other PKR members and supporters when over a dozen policemen, led by an officer identified as ASP Jamaluddin from the Sekama police station, rushed over and identified themselves.

He, thus, became the second person to be arrested in Sarawak for wearing the Bersih T-shirt.

The first was a native customary rights (NCR) land activist, Kelvin Nilo, in Bintulu on July 9.

"We are arresting you under Section 50 of the Societies Act 1966," Jamaluddin told Teo.

"I am being arrested for being too clean," Teo told reporters as he followed the police to a waiting vehicle outside the shopping complex.
Putrajaya down with yellow phobia
The incident caught the eyes of many shoppers who followed him and the police to the carpark.

Desmond Kho, a native customary rights (NCR) land lawyer, who was among the PKR supporters at the breakfast with See, accompanied Teo to the Simpang Tiga police.

NONESee (left), who had followed Teo to the police station, told reporters: "I believe this government is having a phobia with the Bersih T-shirt's yellow colour.

"I don't know why they are so over sensitive over calls for clean and fair elections when it should be the aspiration of every democratic government to achieve?" he asked.

He said there is no law to say that a person cannot wear a yellow shirt.

"There is no need for the government to fear people wearing yellow shirts, but with the arrest of Emeric, it is proof that the government is still in a state of fear.

"We have been fighting for a fair and clean elections since 2007, so there is nothing new about us advocating and calling for a fair and clean elections.

"Now, more and more people are getting angry with the government because of the police crackdown on people spotted wearing the Bersih T-shirts," See said.

Gov't urged to repent

See, who is also the Sarawak PKR information chief, said his party's Stampin branch, of which he is its chairman, would continue with its online registration calls for a fair and clean elections from the ordinary people.

"We will also continue to wear yellow shirts every Saturday for an indefinite period," he added.

See said he is proud of Teo as he is very enthusiastic about the Bersih movement.

"We have a number of lawyers who are willing to offer free legal service in case his charged under the Societies Act," he said.

Teo was released on police bail in the afternoon after his statement was taken. 

According to lawyer Desmond Kho, who accompanied Teo to the Simpang Tiga police station, the police have decided to charge Teo under Section 47 of the Societies Act, which carries a heavier penalty of a maximum two years' jail or RM5,000 fine. 

Teo was initially arrested under Section 50 of the Act, with comes with a punishment of a maximum three months' jail or RM3,000 fine.

Jamaluddin, when asked by reporters, said he was under instruction to arrest anyone sporting the Bersih shirt.

News of See inviting members of the public to have breakfast with him at a coffeehouse at the shopping complex had attracted about 50 plainsclothes and uniformed police officers.

They also had a black van and several Proton Waja handy just in case more arrests had to be made.

Teo's arrest aside, the breakfast went smoothly.

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