Sunday, June 12, 2011

Man says held three nights for not wearing seat-belt

Lim (right) speaks while alleged police abuse victim Edmund Hiew looks on during their press conference June 11, 2011. — Picture by Jack Ooi
Source: (By Boo Su-Lyn, 11/6/2011)
A bank manager accused the Malacca police today of detaining him for three nights in a lock-up for not wearing a seat-belt while driving.
Edmund Hiew, 26, admitted that he did not wear a seat-belt when arrested while driving four friends in Malacca last month. He said the police then put him in a lock-up after accusing him of trying to obstruct them from carrying out their duties. “I asked them what did I do that could be classified as obstructing a civil servant from carrying out his duty, but they did not want to tell,” Hiew told reporters today.
Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng, who is a lawyer, said police cannot arrest anyone for failing to wear a seat-belt. “Until now, he (Hiew) has not been charged. He has been released without condition,” said Lim at a joint press conference today with Hiew and DAP publicity chief Tony Pua. “The only offence he committed was (getting) a traffic summons for not wearing a seat-belt,” the lawyer added.
Hiew said he was “shocked” when he found out in the magistrate court on May 29, after spending the night before in the police lock-up, that he was accused of violating section 186 of the Penal Code. “I was accused...of obstructing a civil servant from carrying out his duties by scolding a police sergeant ‘Lu apa kuasa mau ambik gua punya IC dan lesen’ (What powers do you have to take my IC and license?),” said Hiew, adding that he was only released on May 31. The young man today denied saying those words and pointed out that he had given his identity card and driving license to the police.
Lim said the police had abused their powers by not informing Hiew the grounds of his arrest. “The police (also) has to tell him he has the right to see a lawyer,” said the Segambut MP, referring to section 28A of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC).
Section 28A(2) states that “a police officer shall, before commencing any form of questioning or recording of any statement from the person arrested, inform the person that he may...communicate or attempt to communicate and consult with a legal practitioner of his choice”.
Hiew, who is a DAP member, said he was not beaten up by the police or received threats of physical abuse. Pua said it was a “clear-cut case of abuse of power”. “An independent body must be set up to ensure such abuse of power doesn’t happen anymore,” said the Petaling Jaya Utara MP.
Related news: Three days in lock-up for not wearing seatbelt Police give their take on lock-up row

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