City top cop says may open sedition probe on Low Yat brawlers after race card flashed

Customers at Low Yat Plaza, Kuala Lumpur, July 13, 2015. —  Picture by Saw Siow Feng
Customers at Low Yat Plaza, Kuala Lumpur, July 13, 2015. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

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KUALA LUMPUR, July 13 — Police are currently investigating the incident that sparked several clashes at Low Yat Plaza yesterday as theft but are considering a new file on sedition after several groups involved in the melee flashed the race card.

City police chief Datuk Tajuddin Md Isa said the ongoing probe was under Section 379 for theft but said his men were keeping a close watch on social media and will take action against those who incite further protests or riots outside the popular gadget mall in Kuala Lumpur’s busy golden triangle.

“We are only investigating the case for theft as of now, but we are also going to look into the possibility of sedition since many were uttering racially-toned remarks yesterday,” he told Malay Mail Online when contacted today.

“But as of now, it is only for theft,” he said.

Tajuddin said the police were aware that several provocative messages were being circulated on social media that carried a racial tone.

“We are also keeping a close eye on these Facebook pages and groups and will take action if [they are] found to be spreading or promoting such messages,” the policeman said.

Tajuddin confirmed that only one police report had been made so far, by the owner of the handphone shop in the incident that sparked yesterday’s melee.

The fights at Low Yat yesterday are said to be sparked by a disagreement between the handphone shop employees and one customer over the authenticity of a smartphone.

National news agency Bernama reported a 22-year-old man was arrested by police in the 7.38pm incident on suspicion of theft.

However, the man was later said to have contacted his friends who reacted by heading to the handphone store where the dispute took place and thrashing the place, causing an estimated RM70,000 in damages.

The commotion turned into a demonstration later that same night after several messages spread on social media resulted in dozens of people gathering outside the mall and reportedly demanding retribution.

Several scuffles broke out after midnight outside Low Yat Plaza here that reportedly left five people injured — three of them believed to be journalists.

Three more people between the ages of 22 and 25 were arrested in the latest commotion for attempting to cause further provocation, Bernama reported, citing Tajudin without elaborating.

Tajuddin told Malay Mail Online that the area surrounding Low Yat is no longer blocked off.

However, he said police presence in the area will be increased and this may continue for the next few days.

“We are not closing down any roads, business is as usual, but there will be heavy police presence… for how long, that depends.

“Maybe two or three days until we are satisfied with the situation,” he said.

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