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KUALA LUMPUR: The Inspector-General of Police Ismail Omar today said that the police do not have a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) allowing them to seize media equipment including cameras or memory cards.
“There is no such thing, we act in accordance with the law,” said Ismail, stressing that the police acted professionally during the Bersih 3.0 on Saturday.
Ismail’s statement contradicted with what his boss, Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, said yesterday.
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Hishammuddin said that police had nothing to hide and it was part of the police’s SOP to seize camera equipment and memory cards.
“I don’t know. This is the standard operating procedure of police…,” he told reporters at the Kuala Lumpur Hospital while visiting injured policemen and
Hishammuddin, who said he hoped that allegations that journalists were being roughed up were not true, added that items seized from journalists would be returned to them.
At a press conference in Bukit Aman today, Ismail said: “Many journalists have claimed that they were punched by the police.
“I’m very concerned and we will investigate. I will be open, and investigate all accusations. Make police reports. Bring witnesses. Justice is for all.”
Ismail also denied that there were orders to seize media’s belongings. “Nobody gave such an order…,” he added.
“We will investigate and pass it to the DPP (deputy public prosecutor). I will be very fair to all. I give you that assurance, let the people judge then, don’t jump to conclusions.”
Harassed and assaulted
During the Bersih 3.0 rally, several media personnel were harassed and assaulted by the police.
Among them were Radzi Razak, a Sun journalist, who was allegedly beaten up by seven or eight police officers, despite identifying himself as a media member.
Arif Kartono, a photographer with The Malay Mail, was also allegedly assaulted by six uniformed police personnel and his camera was smashed.
Ashraf Shamsul Azlan, Arif’s colleage, also was threatened and had his memory card taken.
Koh Jun Lin, a photojournalist with online portal Malaysiakini, was arrested after taking photographs that allegedly showed police violence against protesters.
His camera and memory card were also confiscated. It was understood that Koh has got his camera back, but not his memory card.
P Malayandy, a photographer with Tamil newspaper Makkal Osai, was allegedly assaulted by about five policemen for taking pictures of police detaining protesters.
His RM7,000 camera was allegedly taken away by the police.
Al Jazeera correspondent Harry Fawcett alleged that he and his cameramen were shoved and their video camera smashed.
Huang An Jian, a photographer with Chinese newspaper Guang Ming Daily, was arrested while taking photographs of protesters being arrested.
Channel News Asia videographer Kenny Lew was allegedly punched by police, and had his tripod seized.
Chen Shaua Fui, assistant editor of news site Merdeka Review, claimed rough handling by four policemen who tried to snatch her camera.
When she produced her media accreditation card, it was kicked aside and she was threatened with arrest.
Lisa J Ariffin, a journalist from The Malaysian Insider was reportedly hit by a tear gas canister aimed at the crowd.
However, there was also a report of a Al Hijrah videographer Mohd Azri Mohd Salleh, who was allegedly assaulted by protesters when he tried to shield a policeman.