Allegations about police brutality have recently been brought up on social media against a group of 29 Malaysian-Indian men who have been ordered to be released by the Petaling Jaya Magistrate Court
The allegations come from several sections of society.
Members of Parliament (MPs) and a human rights group have also accused the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) of abusing the remand process to keep the men detained.
According to media reports from last week, the group of 29 Malaysian-Indian men were arrested after a shooting incident near a school in Banting, Selangor that happened in late September 2020.
The issue has been taken up by multiple leaders of the Malaysian-Indian community, who are calling for the release of the arrested men
One of them is Klang MP Charles Santiago, who issued a statement, accusing the police of unlawfully detaining the men while "trying to shop for a charge that will stick".
In his statement, Charles said that the Petaling Jaya Municipal Magistrate Court had recently ordered for their release, but the police are adamant about not following court orders.
SAYS could not verify the claim about the court order.
"One of the mothers, I was told, is threatening to immolate herself if her son isn't released by Saturday, the first day of the festival of lights," the Klang MP said, referring to Deepavali.
Santiago further stated that these men were arrested for crimes they did not commit.
"Their ordeal is a long drawn-out drama where the men were charged with one offence after the other, none of which that stuck," read the statement that was posted earlier today, 13 November.
"For example, they were initially arrested for a shooting incident that took place in Banting in September this year, investigated for a murder that took place in 2018, arrested under the Prevention of Crime Act 1959 (POCA), the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA), and yet again rearrested for a murder that happened in 2016," he said, adding that at least two magistrates have disallowed the remand.
According to Charles, the Investigating Officer for the SOSMA case informed the families that the Deputy Public Prosecutor had minuted No Further Action (NFA) against the 29 men.
The other leader is Democratic Action Party's (DAP) Professor Dr Ramasamy Palanisamy, who said that he was made to understand that despite the court order to release them, the police are holding them in custody.
"One of the wives of a detainee said that the police took the husband away for investigation assuring that he would be released soon. It has come to my knowledge that the police wanted to charge them under SOSMA or POCA but was disallowed by the court," he said, adding, "Surely it does not take months or years to charge them."
Meanwhile, human rights group Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) has called on PDRM to stop abusing the remand process
SUARAM has accused PDRM of practising 'chain remand', a process under which an arrested person is remanded and once the remand expires, the police would re-arrest the individual under some other charge or police report which allows them to circumvent the limitations under the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC).
"The police action, in this case, should be considered as a contempt of court and treated as such. The abuse of power in such cases cannot be taken lightly, and stern action must be taken against police officers involved in the matter," the group said while demanding for the immediate release of the detainees.
Following the allegations, PDRM today released a statement to say that the group of men they arrested were identified as an organised crime group known as Geng TCB 21 that is active in causing serious crime
"This group is also suspected to be involved in one shooting incident in Banting, Selangor last September. Following the incident, from 13 to 14 October 2020, the Bukit Aman Crime and Investigation Department (CID) along with Selangor CID has launched an operation within Selangor," read the PDRM statement.
"PDRM successfully nabbed 29 gang members under Section 130V of the Penal Code, Chapter VIB: Organised Crime for allegedly being members of an organised crime group."
The investigation is also being carried out under SOSMA, which allows detainment for 28 days.
According to PDRM, their investigations found that the TCB 21 Gang is an illegal mafia society, whose members are active in doing crimes such as attempts of murder using firearms, firing shots during riots, robbery, committing treachery using fire that is to set fire to cars and excavator machines, threatening, causing injury, etc.
In the statement, they justified the detainment as a way to "ensure that peace and harmony of the public are maintained as well as to ensure that this group will be curbed fully".