By: SABAHKINI CREW
THE Keningau District Police has come under fire over its alleged ineptitude and poor handling of the brutal and senseless beating of a young trader, involving a senior prison department officer.
The parent of the assault victim has demanded for the intervention of the higher authority, to ensure a prompt and proper action be taken against the said prison officer and his group of accomplices.
The father of the assault victim, Cheah You Hock, 53, stressed that there should be no cover up in the investigation of the matter, especially when the entire incident was captured on the CCTV of the 24-hour convenient store where the assault has taken place, on 30 April, at close to midnight.
“There were also many eye witnesses around at that time who can always testify against the assailants. Hence, the police should conduct their investigation professionally, without fear and favour as, it is their duty and responsibility to maintain law and order, and to protect law-abiding citizens. Failing which, it will only send out a wrong signal to others that they can always take law into their own hands,” he said.
He was especially outraged by the alleged ineptitude of the police personnel who arrived at the scene, upon receiving of a distress call made by one of his son’s friends.
“I was made to understand that they (the said three police personnel) failed to stop the beating upon arriving at the scene, until the assailants dragged my son out of the convenient store. And worse still, they (the police) didn’t even detain them (the assailants) for investigation.
“I believe no parents could bear to watch the manner my son was beaten by his assailants, it was so brutal and senseless, as if my son is a notorious criminal,” he lamented.
His son, Ben Cheah Ping Xen, 23, sustained multiple injuries all over his body as the result of the brutality by his assailants. The CCTV video footage clearly showed that he was assaulted by the senior prison officer and his three accomplices using baton, belt and plastic stool, besides punching and kicking him.
Ben claimed that the whole episode started when the senior prison officer who appeared to be under the influence of alcohol, confronted his friend who is also the owner of the convenient store, over the manner he double-parked his vehicle outside the store, claiming that it was haphazard and almost caused him to ram into it.
When the incident occurred, Ben and his group of friends including the convenient store owner, were having a chat outside the store.
“He (the senior prison officer) even asked us whether we know who he was and without us asking, he identified himself (as the Keningau Prison Director, Jaikol Bin Gubal). I then went up to him to apologise on behalf of my friend, but not only that he didn’t accept it 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. One of us also immediately called up the police station for help,” he related.
Realising that he was out-numbered, the senior prison 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 at Ben. A panicked Ben then ran into the convenient store to take cover, without realizing that was the beginning of his worst nightmare, as he was running into a dead end. The senior prison officer and his group pursued and beaten him up senselessly inside the convenient 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.
CCTV....Image captured from CCTV during assault.
He then recalled about 30 minutes later, three police personnel arrived at the scene in a patrol car.
“But they (the police) were 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 then brought me back to the police station. After having my statement taken, I was later given a medical chit to go for a medical check-up. I went to the hospital in my friend’s car,” he related.
Still pretty much traumatized by what happened, Ben said during the assault, besides the pains, he had this immense anxiety that he might not live to see his parents and his two younger brothers again.
“I was bleeding profusely from my nose besides a swollen head and bruises all over my body, as the result of the assault,” he related.
He also claimed that the senior prison officer had through the police inspector on duty asked him whether he was willing to resolve the matter amicably, which he declined without any hesitation.
“All I want is justice, so that the same incident would not happen to other innocent people out there,” he stressed.