Sunday, July 10, 2011

The proof is here - Tung Shin Hospital sprayed and tear gassed

Police shot tear gas and sprayed water from water cannons into the compound of the Tung Shin Hospital along Jalan Pudu, according to two of its staff, in order to disperse the crowd from the Bersih 2.0 rally yesterday.

tear gas fire at tung shin hospital 090711 1One of the staff who is in charge of ambulance management, said that the police fired tear gas three times. He added the spray from the water cannons was unable to reach the main hospital, but hit a building in the compound.

The middle-aged man who wanted to remain anonymous, said that the police started firing tear gas towards a group of people who gathered in front of the Chinese medicine hospital and the male staff hostel which are located beside the main building.

The police then broke into the compound and start arresting people, while some of the protesters successfully fled to the small hill beside Tung Shin Hospital to avoid arrest, he said when interviewed byMalaysiakini.

Police denial

The inspector-general of police Ismail Omar and Kuala Lumpur acting police chief Amar Singh, have denied that the riot police fired tear gas into the premises of Tung Shin hospital.

bersih rally 090711 police shooting into tung shin hospital front imageHowever,Malaysiakini has received many photos from the public showing the police spraying water and shooting tear gas shells into the compound, to rebut the claims of the police.

The Tung Shin staff member said that the protesters were cornered by the Federal Reserve Unit who sealed off both ends of the road.

He said they were forced to flee into Tung Shin hospital because they were unable to get into the Plaza Rakyat abandoned project site which is right opposite the hospital.

He thought that the police could have done better to avoid the hospital getting involved.

NONE"If the police could drive out the crowd from Masjid Jamek to the hospital, they could also drive out them further away. There's no need to for the hospital to be involved in a siege. But they left the crowd no choice, but to head for the hospital," he added.

He stressed that although there were more than 500 people at the scene, they behaved well without being noisy or destroying anything.

"They know this is a hospital, hence their actions were very respectful in order to let the hospital can operate as usual.

"There was some chaos when the police start firing tear gas. They hid inside the hospital, and waited quietly until the gas was gone," he added.

One of the ambulance drivers of the hospital also said that the crowd behaved peacefully in front of the hospital, but many of them rushed into the toilet to wash their faces in order to ease the pain of the tear gas.

He said that the hospital didn't suffer any losses and the incident didn't cause any impact to the patients.


Kuala Lumpur acting police chief Amar Singh today denied claims that riot police fired tear gas into the compound of the Tung Shin Hospital along Jalan Pudu, despite evidence indicating otherwise.

tear gas fire at tung shin hospital 090711 2He also defended his officers' actions in employing "reasonable force" to disperse the protestors assembled there, saying that the crowd had provoked the police and were "not very friendly".

"... there was no tear gas thrown. I saw the whole incident, I was there," he said at a press conference at the Kuala Lumpur police headquarters.

Claims have been rife on social networking sites with eyewitnesses and opposition party members posting numerous pictures and videos of riot police allegedly firing tear gas and a water cannon into the compound of the private hospital.

bersih rally 090711 police shooting into tung shin hospital front imageAt least several hundred protesters were there seeking refuge.

When asked if the police are aware of the mounting photographic and video evidence backing the claims, Amar appeared taken aback and only responded by saying that he will "check and see".

He repeated that tear gas was not used in the alleged assault on protesters in Tung Sin, but said he could not remember whether or not water cannon (above) was used.

Amar claimed that the protesters had provoked the police into taking action, including throwing objects at officers who were on duty.

“I believe you saw the crowd, you saw the people reacting there, and police had to use reasonable force, to apprehend these people.

“The crowd was not very friendly, either, the crowd was aggressive, so we had to use reasonable force to make arrest and the like... To disperse the crowd, we had to use whatever means that we had.

“You must have been there yesterday, you would have seen the crowd provoking the police, and some of them actually throwing items at the police, you saw it yesterday clearly yourself,” he told journalists.

NONEWhen asked to clarify what he meant by “reasonable force”, Amar said it is no different from inspector general of police Ismail Omar's statement that the police had used “minimal force” to disperse the protesters.

“Our job as police (is) when there is a gathering, we disperse the gathering,” he said.

'Detainees well treated'

Amar also swatted aside claims that the 1,697 detainees were ill-treated while being held at three separate locations last night, stating that preparations were made to make sure each and every detainee was comfortable.

“We set up tents for them, we prepared a buffet for them, they had enough space to pray, there were sufficient toilets... we spent RM25 on food for each detainee. That is far better than the rations my men were getting,” he said.

bersih broken legThe city's top cop also pointed out that the majority of the detainees were released unconditionally, with only a small but unspecified number released on bail after processing at three separate locations – the police training centre (Pulapol), the Cheras FRU centre and the Jinjang police station.

“The last person was released at around 11.30pm. It was very fast and I'm very happy it did not last too long.”

Amar urged protesters and detainees who have any complaints of alleged police brutality or abuse to lodge reports with the police.

“If there are any complaints of abuse, bring it to us and we will investigate it,” he said.

[Source: Mkini]

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