A 21-year-old hawker said three police officers tried to intimidate and extort RM3,000 from him for running his herbal soup stall during the Movement Control Order (MCO)
The incident happened when Lim Thiam Fook was driving to his herbal soup stall at 6.45am on 2 June.
Speaking during a press conference held by Kepong member of Parliament (MP) Lim Lip Eng on 6 June, the victim said he was stopped by three police officers while passing by Jalan Besar Kampung Melayu, Kepong, reported Malaysiakini.
During the stop, Lim said the police realised that he did not have an approval letter from the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) to operate and began to harass him.
The Kepong MP said Lim was accompanied by his 13-year-old brother, who was helping him out during the school holidays.
"We have no problem if they want to check us. But because we have yet to get our MITI letter, they find a lot of excuses to accuse us and even suspect we have drugs," said the 21-year-old.
"They even poured out the soup I had prepared to sell. When I asked why, they said they wanted to check whether we have drugs inside or not."
While the victim admitted that he did not have a MITI letter, Bernama reported earlier this month the Ministry of Housing and Local Government (KPKT) announcing that small-time hawkers do not need any approval from the government to operate during the MCO 3.0 period.
Lim claimed that he suffered a loss of RM400 from the soup being poured to the ground
Additionally, Lim also claimed that the police threatened to detain them if they could not pay a RM3,000 fine.
"They also checked my wallets and they saw there was quite some cash in there. So they started to imply this thing can be settled by money," Malaysiakini quoted him as saying.
"But I pleaded with them not to take all the money as I need them to buy food, ingredients, and petrol."
"After some negotiations, they agreed to take RM500 from me instead of RM3,000."
Lim said he and his brother were stopped by the police for over an hour from 6.45am until 8.30am.
"It did not matter when they took away the RM500, but it hurt me when I saw them pour out the soup bowl by bowl," Lim lamented.
China Press reported that the soup took five hours to prepare. Since they could not operate following the incident, they went home after the police left.
The police recorded Lim's statement and after some investigation, Sentul district police chief ACP Beh Eng Lai confirmed that the extortion did take place
According to an exclusive report by China Press published yesterday, 9 June, Beh explained that the investigation into the case was divided into two stages.
The first stage is to confirm the authenticity of the extortion and the second stage is to identify the culprits. The current investigation results show that Lim did not lie and his experience was real.
However, due to the fact that the three police officers were wearing face masks during the incident, Lim could not identify who the culprits were.
Police are currently trying to determine the culprits based on available clues, such as looking at the patrol itinerary around the scene on the day of the incident.
Beh added that he will not rule out the possibility that the three officers could be fake policemen.