Saturday, September 21, 2019

Make sure Police CCTV and Body Cams will Record and records are stored(MADPET)

Media Statement – 21/9/2019

Make sure Police CCTV and Body Cams will Record and records are stored

Malaysia’s Move to Improve Criminal Administration of Justice Applauded

MADPET (Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture) welcomes the Malaysian government’s decision as announced by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad that the ‘nation’s enforcement officers will be equipped with body cameras to boost efficiency in fighting crime and combating corruption.’(New Straits Times, 19/9/2019). This will not only combat corruption and other abuses of power, but will also enhance the personal security of all enforcement officers and improve our criminal administration of justice. 

It is important that these body cameras and/or CCTV will record and store the information, which could later be accessed to be used as evidence in trials and other inquiries, including inquest, if required, to reveal the truth for even in cases of death in custody and also police shooting incidents which left people dead.

MADPET is also happy that ‘the government will allocate RM73mil to install CCTV cameras in all police lockups nationwide, says Law Minister Datuk Seri Liew Vui Keong.’ (Star, 20/9/2019). It is hoped that CCTV is installed at every location in police station and other enforcement agencies’ facilities.

This will also be evidence that the police followed the law, including Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and law in all cases.

CCTV records would have helped solve the mystery behind the death of political aide Teoh Beng Hock, who was found dead in 2009 on the fifth floor of Plaza Masalam in Shah Alam several hours after he was interrogated Selangor MACC at its office on the 14th floor of the same building.

The body-cams and vehicular cams would really help in clearing the police of extrajudicial killings including the recent cases, whereby in one of these cases, where 3 were shot dead, the family have made complaints to the Malaysian Human Rights Commission (SUHAKAM) which questions the police version of what really happened.

CCTV had been installed in some police lockups for some time now, but the problem was that they did not have recording capabilities, and were used for usually a police personnel to monitor what is happening in the lockups. In some previous inquests, where the victim is found dead in police lock-ups, CCTV evidence could not be adduced even in inquests because there was no recordings to tender, and the police officers who was supposed to be monitoring allegedly saw nothing. In other cases, the CCTV was allegedly non-functional.

As such, what the government also need to provide for is sufficient monies to ensure that all these CCTVs and body-cams are always functioning well.

Without recording capabilities, CCTV, vehicular cams or ‘body cameras’ is of little use.

It is important that the Malaysian government spends money for CCTV and/or body cameras with recording capacity, whereby these records shall be stored for at least 6 years, or more if investigations are still open or the case are still in courts. 6 years is proposed because it is the current limitation for civil suits, noting that a person arrested could also be assaulted or even killed by a civilian, not just some enforcement officer.

It must be pointed out that the use of ‘body cameras’ are already happening in many jurisdictions. Cams are also mounted on enforcement vehicles.

In many workplaces, in the private sector, CCTV are installed to monitor the workplace. The question of invasion of privacy does not arise, more so since we are talking about public servants.

In Hong Kong,  the suspect(who may also later become the accused) and/or his/her lawyer have a right to get recordings from the point of arrest to release, which also includes recordings of any police interrogations and questionings.

MADPET thus urges the Malaysian government to install CCTVs at all locations in police stations and enforcement offices, including interrogation rooms, and not simply limit it to lock-ups;

MADPET reiterates the call for speedy Inquest into all deaths caused by alleged extrajudicial killings by police or other enforcement agencies;

MADPET also calls for the enactment of laws with deterrent sentences for crimes committed by the police and/or other enforcement officers for their actions/omissions can seriously impact the administration of justice and also human rights; and

MADPET also calls on the Malaysian government to continue to better and improve public perception of the administration of justice in Malaysia.

Charles Hector

For and on behalf of MADPET(Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture)

Enforcement officers to be equipped with body cameras, says PM

(file pix) The nation’s enforcement officers will be equipped with body cameras to boost efficiency in fighting crime and combating corruption. NSTP/MOHAMAD SHAHRIL BADRI SAALI
PUTRAJAYA: The nation’s enforcement officers will be equipped with body cameras to boost efficiency in fighting crime and combating corruption.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said enforcement personnel who would use body cameras included police, and Customs and Immigration personnel.

“The country is experiencing revenue leakages of between RM3 billion and RM5 billion at the nation’s entry points yearly, due to integrity problems of officers and a lack in state-of-the-art technology,” he said after chairing the Special Cabinet Committee on Anti-Corruption (JKKMAR) meeting at Perdana Putra.

“We had agreed with suggestions to improve things, including using technology in the Customs Department operations by setting up a one-stop control centre, monitoring using closed circuit television (CCTV) and adding more scanners with Artificial Intelligence technology as well as operation aid equipment.

“We want to use more cameras and one of these cameras is the body camera.

“We want to implement it as soon as possible. We have the budget for them.

“We will give priority to body cameras and CCTV.”

Dr Mahathir said body cameras and CCTV could help to determine whether accusations made against enforcement officers were based on facts.

He said more CCTVs would be installed at locations such as lock-ups to boost transparency and prevent misconduct resulting in custodial deaths.

Dr Mahathir said JKKMAR had taken note of requests for additional manpower from certain departments, including police and the Immigration Department.

“We currently have too many civil servants of more than 1.7 million.

“We are finding ways to shift those already on our payroll to areas with important tasks.

“We can’t add too many new staff as we don’t have enough money for it,” Dr Mahathir said adding that the upcoming budget must reflect the government’s need to provide technology and extra manpower to certain departments.

He said more effort must be put into fighting corruption.

“Since we came to power for the past 16 months, the Special Cabinet Committee on Anti-Corruption has met almost every month.

“Such a meeting is extremely important because corruption problems are not being reduced significantly.

“There are still many reports being lodged which must be investigated and looked at as to determine what is still lacking and what needs to be done to further improve things.”

Dr Mahathir said the important decisions reached by JKKMAR included allowing the Public Service Department to continue formulating the Public Services Act to improve integrity and governance among civil servants while executing their duties without any worries about favouritism, stress and threats.- New Straits Times, 19/9/2019

Monday, September 16, 2019

Inquest for all Police Shot Dead Victims To Ensure Also No Breach of Law by Police Extrajudicial Killing Must Be Criminalized in Malaysia

Media Statement – 17/9/2019

Inquest for all Police Shot Dead Victims To Ensure Also
No Breach of Law by Police 

Extrajudicial Killing Must Be Criminalized in Malaysia

MADPET (Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture) calls for inquests for all deaths caused by police shootings to determine that it was in compliance with law, and that there was no person who is ‘criminally concerned in the cause of the death.’ The law is clear about the powers of the police, and there is a need to establish that the police did not break the laws – and certainly did not murder anyone.

Of late, we have come across two media reports of police shooting in resulted in deaths of all the alleged suspects.

In a Star 15/9/2019 report, it stated that the police after a 7km chase fired 6 shots and killed 3 suspects, and the police later found 2 pistols and a machete were discovered. In this case, the police was reported saying, “We are now trying to identify the suspects but we believe they might have been responsible for a high number of house break-ins,…”

On 27/8/2019, Malay Mail reported that police shot dead 3 persons after they allegedly shot twice at the police, whereby in this case, there was only one gun found. The police was reported saying that the suspects were yet to be identified, but that they are believed to be remnants of a gang ‘…responsible for 15 factories break-ins and robbery cases involving about RM620,000…’.

Shooting someone shooting at you with a gun may be justified, but shooting dead persons without a gun raises questions. Police duty is to arrest and not shoot a person dead.

Media may report some but not all incidents, and as such one wonders about the number of people shot dead by the Malaysian police, as these are also extrajudicial killings. Were there any inquests conducted for all these deaths by reason of police shooting?

When the police shoot dead alleged suspects, media reports the police version of what happened, and it is often noted that the police are quick to make suggestions that link the dead to other past crimes. This, itself, raises concerns about the killings. There is a need for an independent inquiry into these shootings and death.

If they were ‘suspects’, why were they not previously arrested and investigated? Were there even arrest warrants out for their arrests?

Unfortunately, we also do not have follow-up media reports that tell people that the police have positively identified the dead, and has secured evidence linking them to the alleged past crimes, if at all.

Other questions that arises, is whether the police even followed the arrest procedures – did they even try to arrest? Or did they merely shoot to kill?

The police may be telling us the truth but this really is not enough. We need independent inquiries into these death by the Magistrate/Judge and this procedure is provided by our law.

In our Criminal Procedure Code, section 337 states that “A Magistrate holding an inquiry shall inquire when, where, how and after what manner the deceased came by his death and also whether any person is criminally concerned in the cause of the death.’

As such, the Magistrate can inquire and make a finding whether the death was caused by the police acting in accordance to law. Was there no possibility of arrest?

Remember that our law gives the police the power to arrest and not to kill. Force could be used in certain cases but the object must always be ‘…to effect the arrest…’

Section 15(2) of the Criminal Procedure Code about arrest states, ‘(2) If such person forcibly resist the endeavor to arrest him or attempt to evade the arrest such officer or other person may use all means necessary to effect the arrest.’. This section also states in subsection (3), Nothing in this section gives a right to cause the death of a person who is not accused of an offence punishable with death or with imprisonment for life.

Clearly many, if not all, of these persons who have been shot dead by the police are at most merely ‘suspects’, and are not yet ‘accused’ for they only become the ‘accused’ after they have been charged in court.

Hence, those shot to dead can only be unavoidable ‘accidents’, at best, when the police tried to effect the arrest of the said persons/suspects. It would also be good for the police if the findings of the inquest comes to a similar conclusion.

Inquests, after all, must be conducted in all cases, except in the limited exceptions provided for in law.

Section 333 of the Criminal Procedure Code states, ’(1) If the Magistrate shall be satisfied as to the cause of death without holding an inquiry under this Chapter, he shall report to the Public Prosecutor the cause of death as ascertained to his satisfaction with his reasons for being so satisfied and shall at the same time transmit to the Public Prosecutor all reports and documents in his possession connected with the matter. (2) In all other cases the Magistrate shall proceed as soon as may be to hold an inquiry under this Chapter.’

It must be pointed out that the word "cause of death" in the law is defined to ‘… include not only the apparent cause of death as ascertainable by inspection or post-mortem examination of the body of the deceased, but also all matters necessary to enable an opinion to be formed as to the manner in which the deceased came by his death and as to whether his death resulted in any way from, or was accelerated by, any unlawful act or omission on the part of any other person…’

The only other situation where a Magistrate need not hold an inquiry is when ‘… if any criminal proceedings have been instituted against any person in respect of any act connected with the death of the deceased or such hurt as caused the death….’

Therefore, save for cases of clear death by natural causes like old age and sickness, there is a need for the Magistrate to conducts inquiry into the deaths, and that certainly should include deaths caused by police shootings and death in police custody.

The Criminal Procedure Code provides specific provisions covering Inquiry into cause of death of a person in custody of police or in any asylum (Section 334).

However, the then ‘…Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Siti Norma Yaakob said yesterday the law governing deaths of persons in police custody was clearly set out in Section 334 of the Criminal Procedure Code. “From my reading of it, it is mandatory to hold inquests to ascertain the cause of death. “And if that is the law, how is it possible that in 22 death cases, officers of the court have seen it fit to make decisions that no inquests were necessary?” Siti Norma asked…’(Star, 2/4/2006)

It is important that the Malaysian government now reassures us that inquests are today being carried out in all death in custody cases.

It is also important that the government informs that inquests are being conducted in all cases where death occurred by alleged reason of being shot dead by police and/or some other enforcement officers.

In 2014, the then government announced the creation of the permanent Coroners Court, which was to begin operations from 15/4/2014. The then Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Nancy Shukri also announced that ‘…the appointment of a senior judge acting as a coroner, Nancy hoped this would improve the public's perception over the handling of such cases…’(New Straits Times, 3/4/2014).

It is time to review these Coroner’s court, with a realistic objective of increasing the number of such Coroner’s courts. There is also a need to consider again whether we need to enact a Coroner’s Act like what they have in many jurisdictions like the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 in UK. The UK Act also says that inquest into a death must be held with a jury especially in cases where the death was caused by police, or in cases of death in custody.

Therefore, MADPET

Calls for inquests into all cases of death by reason of police shootings;

Calls for the findings of all inquest including deaths by police by shootings be made public;

Calls for the investigation of cases of police shooting to be conducted by an independent unit, not the police, who will then also assist the Magistrate in the inquest;

Call for the criminalization of extrajudicial killings in Malaysia;

Call on the government to disclose statistics and information about deaths by reason of police shootings, and the steps taken to confirm that these were not extrajudicial killings;

Calls for the Malaysian police to stop ‘defaming’ the dead, by making known their unverified beliefs that the dead, many a time yet to be identified, may have been responsible for past crimes;

Call on Malaysia to consider enacting a Coroners and Justice Act, with possibility of the involvement of a civilian jury, especially in cases where the police are involved in the death, be it by way of police shooting, or death in police custody.

Charles Hector
For and on behalf of MADPET (Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture)


Three armed robbers shot dead in Gombak by cops

Sunday, 15 Sep 2019

Comm Noor Azam (middle) showing the pistols seized while Gombak deputy OCPD Supt Arsad Kamaruddin (right) and Gombak CID chief DSP Zainuddin Zakaria looked on during the press conference.

GOMBAK: A gang of three robbers was killed after a 7km high-speed chase and shoot-out with police.

A team of police personnel was patrolling near Bandar Country Homes when they stumbled upon the three men, who were in a red Volkswagen Polo, at about 5am yesterday.

When they were instructed to pull over for inspection, the robbers instead sped off. They even tried to graze their car against the police patrol car in an effort to flee.

However, after 7km, police personnel managed to corner them near Batu Arang town.
Selangor police chief Comm Datuk Noor Azam Jamaludin said with nowhere to run, the robbers fired three shots, forcing the police to return fire.

“The police personnel fired six shots at the three men. The suspects were killed,” he told a press conference at the Gombak police district headquarters yesterday.

Two pistols, a machete, three ski masks and gloves were among the items seized from the suspects, he added.

“A check on the vehicle used by the suspects revealed that it was reported stolen in a house break-in in Rawang on Aug 5.

“The car belonged to the victim, who had alleged that police were late in responding to the 999 call reporting the house break-in,” he said.

In a recent Facebook post, the victim, Thivyah Veelurajan, said police did not arrive at her home in time after three masked men had broken in at 2.30am on Aug 5.

She said she had called the 999 emergency hotline for help and was told she should have called the Police “Bilik Gerakan” (Operations Room) instead.

The case is being looked into by the Selangor Integrity and Standard Compliance Department (JIPS).

Comm Noor Azam said police believed the three suspects were responsible for a string of house break-ins.

“We believe they were in the midst of searching for targets when we stumbled upon them.

“We are now trying to identify the suspects but we believe they might have been responsible for a high number of house break-ins,” he said.

In Selangor, 60 cases of house break-ins have been reported between May and September, Comm Noor Azam added.

“Some 80% of the cases were carried out between 3am and 6am.

“Their modus operandi would be to break into houses in a team of three or more, wearing ski masks and armed with weapons.

“They were highly dangerous,” he said. - Star, 14/9/2019

Three foreigners killed in shootout after high-speed chase in Penang

(From left) deputy CPO Datuk Roslee Chik, Penang CPO Datuk T. Narenasagaran and chief of Commercial Crime and Investigation Datuk Zainol Samah during a press conference in George Town August 27, 2019. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
(From left) deputy CPO Datuk Roslee Chik, Penang CPO Datuk T. Narenasagaran and chief of Commercial Crime and Investigation Datuk Zainol Samah during a press conference in George Town August 27, 2019. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
GEORGE TOWN, Aug 27 — Three foreigners believed to be part of a gang specialising in factory burglaries died in an early morning shootout after leading police on a high-speed car chase here.

In the 2am incident at the Permatang Tinggi Industrial area in Bukit Mertajam, the three men sped off in a red Toyota Camry when approached by a police team while parked by the roadside.

Penang police chief Datuk T. Narenasagaran said this triggered a high-speed chase after which the driver of the Toyota lost control and veered into a ditch.

“They immediately got out of the car and fired two shots at the police,” he said, adding that one of the three came out with a machete. 

He said the police team returned fire and killed all three on the spot.

Narenasagaran said the suspects, believed to be aged between 20 and 30, had fired off a .38 Colt revolver.
“We are still trying to identify the suspects, their nationality and whether there are other members in their gang,” he said in a press conference at the Penang police headquarters today. 
A revolver and other items seized during a shootout incident this morning are seen at the Penang police headquarters in George Town August 27, 2019. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
A revolver and other items seized during a shootout incident this morning are seen at the Penang police headquarters in George Town August 27, 2019. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
The police believe there are remnants of the gang that is thought to have operated since last year and was known for targeting isolated factories.

He said there has been a slew of break-ins in the area, with the most recent being about 50m from the site of the incident.

“We have been monitoring and patrolling the area last night as there was a tip-off that the suspects would be acting soon,” he said.

He said the gang would usually enter from the rear of the factory before overwhelming the guard on duty.

“They will then enter the office and force open the safe there and empty it,” he said.

The gang is believed to be responsible for 15 factories break-ins and robbery cases involving about RM620,000.

The gang members are also believed to be experts in cracking open safes.

After the shootout this morning, the police seized the car, a revolver, four bullets, two spent casings, two steel cutters, angle grinders, one machete and other tools commonly used to break into factories and safes. - Malay Mail, 27/8/2019