(Malaysiakini) Eyewitness: 'Cop fired on the run'

Bede Hong
Sep 14, 07

An eyewitness to Saturday’s shooting incident in Kuala Terengganu offered a different version of what had transpired, which contradicted what the police had stated.
According to Osman Ismail (left), the policeman did not discharge his firearm while lying on the ground, during which the latter was said to have been assaulted by an angry mob.

He claimed that the policeman had fired over his shoulder as he was running away from several men during the clash between opposition supporters and the police in Pantai Batu Burok.
Met at his used car shop in Kuala Terengganu yesterday, Osman claimed that the media reports on the incident were not accurate.
“It happened in front of my eyes,” said the 49-year-old PAS member, adding that he was standing some five metres away from where the shooting took place.
“The newspapers say that he was attacked by 20 men. Those are lies,” he said.
Relating his version, Osman claimed that the policeman, who was in plain clothes, was arguing with several men near the Permai Inn resort around midnight.
“Suddenly, one of them punched him, and the policeman started running towards the FRU (Federal Reserve Unit) personnel. As he was running, he fired at least four or five shots over his shoulder,” he added.
As a result of this, two men Suwandi Abdul Ghani, 37, (left) was shot in the chest, and Muhamad Azman Aziz, 21, sustained gunshot wounds to the neck. Muhamad Azman has since been discharged.
No weapons
Meanwhile, Osman also denied news reports that the rioters were armed with dangerous weapons.
“One man carried a stick, but it was just a flimsy stick. If you hit someone’s head with the stick, the stick would break,” he said.
He also denied that the policeman had fell to the ground as claimed by the police.
“He did not fall at all. I was curious when I saw on television (the policeman’s injuries). I think this is all an act. It was an act to show how vicious the opposition is,” he said.
According to him, it was the policeman who had allegedly acted in an aggressive manner.
As for the riot itself, he said the majority of those involved were youths and the police had “provoked” them into turning rowdy.
“These are boys, when tempers flare, things can happen. When the police fired the tear gas, the situation got out of hand,” he added.
Osman also accused the police of contributing to the damage incurred that night.
“The FRU were beating on vehicles and motorcycles. I saw tear gas canisters flying into stalls and shops. A FRU truck also damaged concrete flower pots along the road,” he said.
Asked why he did not file a police report on the incident, he replied: “I wanted to, but it’s hard to trust the police these days. I could get arrested.”
Come forward
Contacted later, Terengganu police chief SAC I Ayub Yaakob said Osman should come forward and give a statement to the police.
“We are open to statements from eye witnesses to the riot. We are still investigating (the shooting incident),” he added.
Previously, Ayub said the 25-year-old general duty policeman had fired four shots when he was set upon by an armed mob.
Ayub (left) said the policeman suffered a blow to his eye causing it to bleed. He then fell to the ground but the mob allegedly did not relent and continued to assault 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,” he added.
The policeman, who received several stitches, is currently on medical leave and is reportedly under investigation for attempted murder.
His assailants, on the other hand, are also being investigated for attempted murder.
* See http://www.malaysiakini.tv/?vid=1369 for the testimony of eyewitness Osman Ismail.