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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Housewife’s death: ‘Police trigger-happy’


Klang MP Charles Santiago and Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo said those involved in the shooting of Pua Bee Chun should be brought to justice.
PETALING JAYA: Klang MP Charles Santiago and Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo charged today that the police were trigger-happy in the shooting of housewife Pua Bee Chun.
Pua was killed in a police shoot-out on Jan 18. She was shot in Taman Sentosa Klang when she and driver Song Chee Chai were chased by the police after they were spotted behaving suspiciously.
Both the MPs said the police personnel involved in the shooting should be charged with her death.
Santiago also called for the immediate suspension of those involved and demanded that the police conduct an inquiry.
“The police involved should be charged under Section 304 of the Penal Code [culpable homicide not amounting to murder] because they were shooting randomly.
“The police are trigger-happy, and this trigger-happy behaviour is not acceptable. Those guilty of such incidents must be brought to court,” he said.
(Those charged under this section can be imprisoned for up to 20 years upon conviction.)
Gobind questioned the necessity for the police to open fire, saying “24 bullets were fired, was it necessary? Why haven’t the police taken action?
“The police should give an explanation as to why there was a need to shoot that many times.”
Gobind also said that it is the police’s duty to ensure they do not shoot unnecessarily.
“They should evaluate the situation, and decide whether it is necessary to shoot. They should follow the standard operating procedure [SOP]. If they do not adhere to the SOP, there are grounds that the police have committed a criminal offence,” he said.
“In so far as evidence is concerned, the police have ordered for the CCTV footage to be erased. Even the clothes she was wearing was not given back to the family,” he said.
Santiago said that this month alone there have been three known deaths linked to the police, citing the case of Chang Chin Te who died while in police custody, C Sugumaran who was allegedly beaten to death by the police and the case of Pua Bee Chun who died during a police shoot-out.
‘No protection for rakyat’
Gobind lauded Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s move in intervening in Sugumaran case but stressed that the prime minister should do this in similar other cases.
“It is good that the prime minister has intervened [by instructing Health Minister Liow Tiong Lai to submit a forensic report on the death of Sugumaran], but he should do this for all cases.
“There should be a general requirement if police caused the death of someone. They should explain how such incidents occurred.
“Also, if, for example, a family demands a second post-mortem to be conducted, the police should assist and not make it harder for the family,” Gobind said.
Pua’s husband, Foo Voon Kong, 27, said that the police have not been contacting him.
Gobind stressed that the police, other than conducting investigations, also have a duty to take care of the victims’ families.
“They rarely communicate with the family and instead put up a barricade between them and the families involved.
“The prime minister should make it a practice for the government and the police to assist the families. These people are going through a hard time and they just want an explanation,” he said.
Gobind also questioned how is it possible to go to court if there is no evidence as the CCTV recording has been wiped out.
“If you’ve got nothing to hide, then you’ve got nothing to fear,” he said.
“So many people have died in police’s hands. This shows that there is no protection for the rakyat,” said Gobind.
“We really call for the implementation of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission [IPCMC] to safeguard the interests of the people and to monitor the conduct of the police,” he said.
Pua, 22, is survived by her husband, a four-year-old daughter and a three-year-old son.

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