‘Balloon girl’ probed for handing out Bersih balloons

Police have charged Bilqis Hijjas who was detained earlier on Aug 31, 2015 for distributing Bersih 4 balloons at an upscale shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur. — Picture courtesy of Bilqis Hijjas’ Facebook page
Police have charged Bilqis Hijjas who was detained earlier on Aug 31, 2015 for distributing Bersih 4 balloons at an upscale shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur. — Picture courtesy of Bilqis Hijjas’ Facebook page

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 31 — Police have launched an investigation on a woman who was detained earlier today for distributing Bersih 4 balloons at an upscale shopping mall, according to the suspect’s lawyer.

It is understood that Bilqis Hijjas, the daughter of prominent architect Hijjas Kasturi, is being probed under Section 504 of the Penal Code for “provoking a breach of peace” by distributing the balloons at the Pavilion shopping mall in Bukit Bintang during the DiverseCity International Art Festival which Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had attended.

“Bilqis has been released on police bail… balloon girl ordered pizza. All is well,” her lawyer Michelle Yesudas said on microblogging site Twitter, adding that her client was released at about 9.40pm.

It is understood that Bilqis had dropped the balloons from the top floor of the mall which later fell behind the stage where Najib and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah were seated.

The seven balloons were decorated with the words “Free media”, “Democracy” and “Justice”, among others.

Najib and Rosmah were said to have ignored the balloons.

Earlier today Bilqis’ friend Syar S Alias said the former had also partook in the Bersih 4 rally that took place over the weekend, distributing the same balloons to other participants.

Bersih claimed up to half a million people had joined the two-day event although media estimates put the turnout at around 100,000 people.

The protest was held to demand Putrajaya to institute key reforms – fair elections, free media, better economy and the right to assemble.

It was also calling for Najib to resign after he was implicated in several financial scandals.

Correction: A previous version of this story erroneously reported that Bilqis has been charged under Section 504 of the Penal Code. The mistake is regretted and has since been rectified.

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