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More instances of police abuse of power and intimidation- malaysiakini

Malaysiakini's report:

A video camera belonging to an activist was seized by police during a
candlelight vigil
last Sunday. Not only was he also detained by the police, after almost five days, his camera is still in police ‘custody'.

ong boon keong 250808 02Ong Boon Keong, who is the Penang co-ordinator for Malaysians for Free and Fair Elections (Mafrel), said he was recording the acts of the police who were attempting to disperse the crowd when his camera was confiscated.

Around 300 people had turned up at the the Petaling Jaya Civic Centre to commemorate the first anniversary of the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih) rally in Kuala Lumpur last year.

"I was recording the police's antics of forcibly throwing vigil attendants into the police truck from across the road of the vigil. They were not allowed to move into the truck themselves," Ong explained.

He opined that the police were probably unhappy with him recording their actions and sent over two personnel "to arrest me and take away my video camera".

An enraged Ong asked if there was a law forbidding people from capturing police brutality and asked if his arrest was an "attempt to wipe out any records of their outrageous, illegal and uncivilised conduct".

"If the police hadn't done anything untoward, why did they take such action?" he asked.

Ong said after he was released on bail, he asked police to return his camera. "At first the police denied any knowledge of the seized video camera. They sent me to their general inquiry counter where the police professed total ignorance of my camera.

bersih 1st year anniversary pj vigil arrest 111108 lotus"They only claimed to have a camera seized from Malaysiakini. I persisted on my request for one hour before they brought in two video cameras which they said were seized from the vigil as ‘evidence'. One of the cameras was mine but they said they wouldn't return it until the investigations are completed."

"The police have their own videographers and camera persons to record the event. To imply that they need our video footage and to take it without our agreement is totally unreasonable," said Ong.

"We need to strongly protest such unjustifiable tactics by the police. The incident prove that time has come for the police to be watched closely by an external watch dog," he added.

Videographers targeted

On the same day, police also confiscated a video camera from Malaysiankini videographer Syukri Mohamad and arrested him for allegedly participating in the rally. Malaysiankini's video camera has also not been returned.

syukri mohamad malaysiakini videographer cameraman pj civic centre bersih arrest 111108 02Syukri who went to the Petaling Jaya police station today to retrieve the video camera, returned empty-handed as police informed him that it is still being used in investigations into the incident. He added that police informed him that the video camera will be held until further notice.

"This is an outrage. They could have returned our video camera and kept the tape for investigation purposes," said Malaysiakini editor-in-chief Steven Gan.

"We only have two video cameras and one is with them. This is hampering our work," he added -