Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Man wants thorough probe into son’s assault

KOTA KINABALU: An enraged father wants the authorities to thoroughly probe the “senseless” beating of his son by a government officer and his accomplices, and to take serious action against them. Cheah You Hock, 53, said there should not be a cover-up in the investigation as the entire incident was captured on the CCTV of a 24-hour convenience store in Keningau where the attack took place close to midnight on April 29.

“There were also many eyewitnesses at that time who can always testify what happened,” he said. Cheah claimed that the three policemen, who arrived at the scene when alerted by one of his trader son’s friends, did not arrest the assailants for an investigation. “I believe no parents could bear to watch the manner my son was beaten up by his assailants. It was senseless, as if my son is a notorious criminal,” he lamented.

As a result of the assault, his son, Ben Cheah Ping Xen, 23, sustained injuries all over his body as well as to his head and face. The CCTV video footage, Cheah said, showed that his son was assaulted using a baton, belt and plastic stool apart from being punched and kicked. Ben claimed that the whole episode started when the government officer, who appeared to be under the influence of alcohol, confronted his friend who is the owner of the convenience store, for double-parking outside the store, claiming that it was haphazard and almost caused him to ram into it.

At that time, Ben and his group of friends including the convenience store owner were having a chat outside the store. “He (government officer) even asked us whether we know who he is. And, without us asking, he identified himself (as head of a federal government department office in Keningau). “I then went up to him to apologise on behalf of my friend. He not only didn’t accept my apology but became aggressive and slapped me on my face. Upon seeing this, my other friends and two security guards on duty immediately rushed over to stop him. And one of them immediately called up the police station for help,” he related. Realising that he was out-numbered, the government officer then called for back-up and in less than five minutes, his group of friends arrived at the scene.

One of Ben’s friends tried to reason with them but was punched right in the face. “They then turned around and targeted me,” said Ben, adding that he panicked and ran into the convenience store to take cover, without realising that was the beginning of his worst nightmare. He claimed that the government officer and his group then pursued and beat him up inside the convenience store. “My other friends tried to come to my rescue but were prevented by one of the group members at the main entrance,” he related.

Ben also recalled that about 30 minutes later, three police personnel arrived at the scene in a patrol car. “But they seemed hesitant to come in to stop my assailants, until I was dragged out of the store by them. Only after that they (the police) came over to me and brought me to the police station. After having my statement taken, I was later given a medical chit to go for a check-up. I went to the hospital in my friend’s car. “I was bleeding profusely from the nose. My head was swollen and there were bruises all over my body, as the result of the assault,” he said.

Ben also claimed that the government had, through a senior policeman on duty asked him whether he was willing to resolve the matter amicably, which he declined. “All I want is justice, so that the same incident would not happen to other innocent people out there,” he stressed. Meanwhile Keningau police chief DSP Zahari Mohamed in confirming the incident said Ben lodged a police report at about 1.20am on April 30.
“We will investigate and take appropriate action,” Zahari said.

Source New Sabah Times 03 May 2011