Journalist says ordered by cops to stop taking pictures of Bersih chaos
KUALA LUMPUR, July 26 — A journalist today told the Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) inquiry into the April 28 Bersih rally that policemen arrested him and confiscated his belongings while he was on duty to cover the rally.
Koh Jun Lin, 25 a reporter and photographer with news portal Malaysiakini, claimed he was arrested by policemen outside the Kuala Lumpur City Hall building.
The arrest happened after two policemen ordered him to stop taking pictures of a clash between the police and protestors.
“The officers tugged at my press tag hanging on my neck. I took it off for them to see but they confiscated it along with my camera.
“They grabbed me by my backpack and took me to Royal Selangor Club along with 200 other detainees, one of them another fellow journalist.
“Upon reaching the club, I felt a sharp jab in the mid-section of my body. I believe I was punched by a policeman,” Koh said.
He alleged that upon reaching the Royal Selangor Club, he asked for his camera and press tag to be returned to him.
“A plainclothes officer, claiming to be a police inspector, returned my camera to me but told me his superior officer confiscated my memory card, probably because he did not want me to publish the pictures I took of the clash.
“Another officer was holding my press tag along with the identity cards of all the detainees,” he said
Koh claimed he exchanged the press tag for his own IC because he believed his press tag was more precious to him and that it was proof that he was not supposed to be arrested.
He told the panel that when he was taken to the Jalan Semarak Police Training Centre (Pulapol), he was immediately released by a police superintendent by the name of Ismail.
“Supt Ismail told me my arrest was a mistake and ordered his officers to immediately release me and for my belongings to be returned to me.
“I felt fearful when I was arrested. I went to cover the rally, expecting a lot of things to happen such as the firing of tear gas and police acting violently towards the crowd. But I did not expect all that to happen to me,” Koh said.
The inquiry, which began on July 5, is aimed at determining whether any violations of human rights were committed against any person or party during and after the gathering.
The inquiry panel, led by Suhakam vice-chairman Datuk Dr Khaw Lake Tee and aided by commissioners Professor Datuk Dr Mahmood Zuhdi Abdul Majid and Detta Samen, will be interviewing some 22 witnesses over a period of 22 days.
The inquiry continues on July 30.