(The Star) CPO: Cop was protecting women, kids

Tuesday September 11, 2007
KUALA TERENGGANU: The police constable who shot at rioters who attacked him at an illegal gathering here on Saturday night was trying to protect a group of women and children.
State police chief Senior Asst Comm (II) Datuk Ayub Yaakob said Kons Azmi Husin, who was in plainclothes, was directing the women and children to leave the area as the situation in Jalan Sultan Mahmud was unsafe.

About 20 men armed with sharp weapons and sticks then spotted Kons Azmi and shouted “This man is Special Branch!” before assaulting him.
SAC Ayub said Kons Azmi, 29, was beaten until he collapsed, bleeding from the head.
“Lying on the ground, he took out his gun and fired four shots,” said the police chief yesterday.
Two assailants were hit, one in the neck and the other in the shoulder. They have been warded at the Sultanah Nur Zahirah Hospital here and Hospital Universiti Sains Malaysia in Kelantan, and are reported to be in stable condition.
The riot was sparked off when police tried to disperse an illegal gathering of more than 500 at a political gathering organised by Bersih, a coalition of 60 non-governmental organisations pushing for electoral reform.
The gathering was supported by opposition parties PAS, Parti Keadilan Rakyat and DAP.
Following the melee, seven people were injured and 23 arrested, of which 19 were later released.
In Parliament yesterday, Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang called for a public inquiry, saying that the incident could have been avoided if the police had not disregarded the Royal Police Commission’s recommendations to “respect the right to hold assemblies, meetings and processions”, ELIZABETH LOOI reports.
Datuk Mohd Aziz (BN – Sri Gading) countered that Bersih should not have held the gathering because it did not have a permit.
At a press conference in Kuala Lumpur, Terengganu PAS commissioner Datuk Mustafa Ali said the gathering was part of Bersih’s programmes to educate the public on the need for fair elections, LISA GOH reports.
When asked about homemade bombs and Molotov cocktails that were reported to have been hurled at police, he replied: “We didn’t know about that. That claim was made by the police.”