Violent Mob Breaks Out In Kota Raya. How Did Things Escalate So Quickly?
How did this fiasco start?
On 15 December, trouble broke out in Kompleks Kota Raya, after a man was locked and "detained" by a mobile phone trader when he refused to pay RM10,000 for his purchase of four mobile phones
Dipres Nasution Mohd Arifin, 28, was detained and locked in a room at Kompleks Kota Raya here in Kuala Lumpur when he refused to purchase four mobile phones from a store.
The victim stated that he had refused to continue with the purchase of the four mobile phones when the salesperson skyrocketed the total price to RM 10,000; more than 10 times the initial agreed price of RM800. However, after having paid, he said that he was led to a room to wait instead of being given the purchased mobile phones.
"After waiting for several hours in the room alone, a man came into the room with a bill for RM 10,000 instead of the agreed price of RM 800. I asked the man why the price differed so greatly but he came up with all sorts of excuses," said Nasution.
"The man then forced me to withdraw money from an ATM. I told him that I had only RM 5000 but he said that he would not release me if I did not pay up. After having made sure that there were insufficient funds in my account, the man settled for RM 5,000 for the four mobile phones instead but the mobile phones that he gave to me weren’t the same as the ones I had selected and purchased." added Nasution.
Having realised that he was scammed, Nasution immediately lodged complaints to several agencies including The Malaysian Muslim Consumers’ Association (PPIM) and the Ministry of Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism
After receiving the official complaint from Nasution, the Kuala Lumpur consumer tribunal ordered the mobile shop vendor to return the RM5,000 paid for the mobile phones back to Nasution
"After the award was delivered, the complainant, with a Muslim Consumers’ Association of Malaysia (PPIM) representative, went to the shop to make the claim.
"The trader returned the RM5,000 while the complainant returned the four mobile phones," Domestic Trade, Consumerism and Cooperatives Ministry secretary-general Alias Ahmad said in a statement.
If the issue was solved, why was a protest held at Kota Raya just days after the incident with Nasution?
Two days later, on 18 December, "Gerakan Merah", led by the Malay Army Veterans Association president Ali Tinju, held a protest in Kota Raya, urging the people to boycott the mall over the phone incident
Less than 20 members of 'Gerakan Merah' turned up for the protest held in response to news reports of a phone trader cheating and confining a customer.
This morning, Ali Tinju had sent a Whatsapp message to media organisations regarding the protest, which he stated was for "Malay pride".
"TV3, TV1, Bernama TV, Utusan Malaysia, Sinar, BH (Berita Harian) dan lain2 Media... Kami Ketua-Ketua Gerakan Merah turun hari ini (Jumaat) jam 4petang pergi ke komplex Kota Raya.(We the leaders of Gerakan Merah will go down to Kota Raya Complex at 4pm.)
"Isu kedai Cina jual barang menipu pembeli ppuan Melayu. Jom demi maruah Melayu! #AliTinju," read the message. (The issue of a Chinese shop cheating a Malay woman customer. Come, for Malay pride)
Following that, yesterday, 20 December, Kota Raya shopping complex faced a sudden mob attack when a group of about 20 people barged in, armed with sticks and helmets
1. According to English daily, The Star, the raucous gang of 20 people was apparently there, fully armed, to confront shop owners that allegedly scammed them
In a video of the fight, uploaded by My Berita Daily, the gang was seen throwing chairs and attacking the shopkeepers violently and eventually chasing after the shop workers as they started running away to escape the attackers.
2. The violent scuffle broke out just shortly after the Muslim Consumers Association of Malaysia (PPIM) held a press conference outside the mobile store, demanding refunds for customers that were apparently cheated by the vendors
3. The "confrontation" abruptly turned into a violent fight as the mob started thrashing the store and attacking the workers
4. The mob attack left two individuals with minor injuries and Dang Wangi CID chief M. Gunalan, revealed that they are currently being treated at the Tung Shin Hospital
"From what we can see, only one table was smashed by the brawlers and a few handphones are missing," added M. Gunalan.malaysiakini.com
5. The authorities have nabbed one of the suspects from the brawl yesterday, a 38-year-old, shopping mall parking attendant
Dang Wangi deputy police chief Supt Habibi Majinji said the 38-year-old man, a parking attendant, was arrested at the shopping complex on Sunday, after the 5pm fracas was brought under control.
"The suspect was part of the group involved in the assault on the shop workers. He works as a parking attendant in one a shopping complex," adding he will be remanded on Monday.
When asked, Supt Habibi said police are investigating whether the suspect was one of the individuals allegedly swindled by the traders.
"The mobile phone worker was injured in the assault and has lodged a police report. We will release the images of the suspects in due time," he noted.
6. The Kota Raya traders have suffered losses amounting to RM15,000 from the attack yesterday
He added that the traders suffered losses amounting to RM15,000 in stolen items and damage to the premises.
The case is probed under Section 148 of the Penal Code for rioting with weapons and Section 394 of the Penal Code for voluntarily causing injury while committing robbery.
Supt Habibi said that police would be increasing the security around Kota Raya to prevent untoward incidents.
This sudden attack is quite the sequel to the Low Yat incident back in July, that started as an argument on whether a phone that was purchased by a customer is an original or an AP set, which eventually led to a major racial scuffle that left a group of people badly injured: