(Malaysiakini) Police chief: Shot fired in self-defence

Sep 10, 07
The policeman who discharged his firearm injuring two people in Kuala Terengganu on Saturday had acted out of desperation when he was allegedly set upon by a mob armed with sticks.
Contacted today, Terengganu police chief SAC I Ayub Yaakob stressed the 25-year-old policeman had acted in self-defence.

He said the policeman, who was in plain clothes, was on crowd control duty at the ceramah organised by election watchdog Bersih. He wore a red ribbon to identify himself to his colleagues.
“After he had ushered the women, children and elderly into the building to avoid them from getting hurt, suddenly a group of 20 men carrying sticks confronted him.
“They called him SB (Special Branch) and began hitting him,” he added.
Ayub said the policeman, who suffered a blow to his eye causing it to bleed, then fell to the ground but the mob allegedly did not relent and continued to hit him.
“He had no choice, he used his left hand to fend the blows and with his right hand, he reached for his gun. Because his face was bleeding profusely, he couldn’t see properly as well.
“He was still on the ground, his elbow was on the ground when he fired into the air. He did not even know that someone had been hit (by the shot),” he added.
Attempted murder
Following this, Ayub said the alleged assailants scampered away while the injured policeman got up and stumbled towards a waiting Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) vehicle.
“He only managed to walk six or seven steps and collapsed. He was carried to safety by FRU personnel,” he added.
As a result of the incident, two people suffered gunshot wounds and are currently undergoing treatment. One of them was hit in the neck and the other in the chest.
Ayub said the injured policeman received several stitches and was discharged from hospital the following day.
The policeman, who is currently on medical leave, later filed a police report on the incident and the case has been classified as attempted murder.
Ayub said the police were investigating the possibility of any negligence on the policeman’s part. “We are looking at both sides,” he stressed.
As for the clash, the police chief said some of those in the crowd had come with explosive materials such as fireworks and sulphur. “They came prepared,” he charged.
Ayub also confirmed that 18 of the 23 arrested have been released on police bail. The rest are still under custody.
No provocation
Meanwhile, the police chief also strongly denied opposition party PAS’ claim that the incident was instigated by police agent provocateurs.
“We never provoked anybody, my instruction was clear, we will not react if the people do not do anything.
“It was the crowd, who had come from all over, who were frustrated that the ceramah could not be held (because a police permit was not granted) and began to hurl stones at the policemen.
“The general duty policemen could not stand it and that is why the FRU was called in,” he said.As to why the permit had been rejected, Ayub said this was because the proposed place to hold the ceramah, Pantai Batu Burok, which is a popular tourist destination, was not suitable.
“They (the organisers) filed an appeal. I then called them for negotiations, but they only sent a messenger. I waited till 6pm in my office (on Saturday). I wanted to hear (their views) from them,” he added.
Furthermore, he said the application did not state any plans as to how the organisers planned to control the traffic or the crowd at the ceramah.
PAS, on the other hand, claimed that it has held a ceramah in Batu Burok since the 90s and had not previously faced any problems.