Thursday, June 23, 2011

5 cops face suspension for 'branding' women

KUALA LUMPUR: A police inspector and four constables face suspension from duty or a salary cut on disciplinary charges of tarnishing the image of the force.

Disciplinary proceedings have been brought against the five following a controversial anti-vice raid on an entertainment outlet in Penang early this month.

The police force had been besieged with numerous complaints from the public and non-governmental organisations as the women, detained in the June 1 raid, had the letter "X" marked on their bodies.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar ordered a thorough investigation following the incident and the inspector and four constables involved in the raid were reassigned to desk duties with immediate effect.

Federal Criminal Investigation Department principal assistant director (anti-vice, gaming and secret society) Senior Assistant Commissioner Abdul Jalil Hassan said the internal probe had been completed.

"The papers have been passed to the internal disciplinary board for review," he said yesterday.

"This is a very serious issue. This practice of branding, although isolated, is not part of the standard operating procedure. We do not adopt such a practice as we do not want to embarrass suspects who are innocent until proven guilty."

Depending on their previous records, the five policemen face being reprimanded with a warning letter, suspension or a have a salary cut.

The 30 women -- 29 from China and the other from Vietnam -- were reportedly chained in groups, and each had an "X" marked on their bodies. Some newspapers had published a photograph of one of them with an "X" on her forehead.

Earlier, police had defended the move, saying it was done to differentiate the women from the public.

This was because three of the women from China had tried to escape by masquerading as customers of a nearby designer boutique during the raid. They were detained as their sexy attire made them stand out from the customers at the boutique.

The three had been working in a karaoke outlet on the sixth floor of an entertainment centre in Pulau Tikus, Penang. When police arrived, they had fled to the ground floor where the boutique was located. - NST

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