Penang restaurant owner questioned over communist link for using wallpaper with Chairman Mao caricatures

Lawyer Dev Kumaraendran (right) escorting 41-year-old man (second right) and his wife George Town district police headquarters at Jalan Patani, January 13, 2021. ― Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
Lawyer Dev Kumaraendran (right) escorting 41-year-old man (second right) and his wife George Town district police headquarters at Jalan Patani, January 13, 2021. ― Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

GEORGE TOWN, Jan 13 ― A restaurant owner and his Chinese national wife were brought in for questioning at the George Town district police headquarters at Jalan Patani today over allegations that he used wallpaper containing communist ideology in his eateries.

The 41-year-old man and his wife, accompanied by their lawyer, Dev Kumaraendran, turned up at the police station here at around 12.20pm today.

According to Dev, they were called in for questioning over the wallpapers used in the restaurants, one in Icon City in Bukit Mertajam and another in Pulau Tikus on the island.

“The wallpaper was already there since they opened the restaurant in Pulau Tikus four years ago and the same wallpaper was used in the second restaurant in Bukit Mertajam which was opened two years ago,” he told reporters waiting outside after escorting his clients into the police station.

The wallpapers in question featured caricatures of Chinese communist revolution leader Mao Zedong, also known as Chairman Mao, and Chinese army personnel, including one holding a red book.

Dev said his client will fully cooperate in the police investigations into the case and could only come in to give their statements today as they were in quarantine since December 31 last year.

“They were in quarantine and only today, their quarantine wristbands were removed and their tests have come back negative, so they can come in to give their statements,” he said.

He added that the couple is willing to come back for further questioning if the need arises.

He said the couple is being investigated for either projecting propaganda or material from an illegal society.

It was reported that police had inspected the restaurant in Bukit Mertajam on January 2 following a public tip-off.

According to Central Seberang Perai district police chief Asst Comm Shafee Samad, they conducted checks on the restaurant and found several elements of communist ideology on the wallpaper in the restaurant.

The police have since seized the wallpaper and four small cups with Mao's face on it. 

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