Detained car parts dealer’s family and lawyer cry foul over denial to legal counsel, claims police abuse

Miss Fong, sister of Hong Chen Peng speaks during a press conference in Ampang May 5, 2021. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
Miss Fong, sister of Hong Chen Peng speaks during a press conference in Ampang May 5, 2021. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

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KUALA LUMPUR, May 5 — The lawyer and family members of a businessman arrested for suspected car theft are demanding that he be allowed to see his legal counsel.

The sister of spare parts and car accessories dealer Hong Chen Peng, 38, who only wanted to be known as Miss Fong, said her brother was arrested around 2am to 3am on Saturday (May 1).

“This came to us as an immense shock, as my father had passed away on Thursday (April 29) and we were in the middle of his funeral when we found out,” she told reporters at the family lawyer’s firm in Ampang. 

Fong said her brother had attended the first day of the funeral, but when his family arrived at Hong’s flat in Pandan Mesra Prima on Saturday morning at around 10am, to install his father’s shrine, they discovered his residence had been ransacked and torn apart. 

She added that when they asked Hong’s neighbours, they were informed that loud noises were heard several hours prior, but no one went to check on him as they assumed the noises came from upstairs. 

“Throughout the day we tried to call him but there were no answers. We considered filing a police report but one of our uncles received a call at 7pm. 

“The caller was an unidentified woman, who said she had been given our uncle’s number by my brother. We were told he was currently being held in the Sentul police district headquarters, and that he had been severely beaten by police officers while in custody,” she said.  

Wasting no time, the family quickly rushed to Sentul police district headquarters, where Fong said they caught a brief glimpse of Hong, shortly before they were ordered to leave the premises by the officers on duty. 

It is understood that Hong has been detained under Section 379A of the Penal Code for committing theft of a motor vehicle or any component part of a motor vehicle, and that his detainment on Saturday was subsequently extended on Monday (May 3) to Saturday (May 8)

“After my father’s funeral ended on Sunday, we hired the lawyer on Monday, who attempted to see my brother as his legal counsel on the same day. 

“He was prevented from seeing his client, as was his colleague who went to see my brother on Tuesday,” Fong said. 

Lawyer Keppy Wong speaks during a press conference in Ampang May 5, 2021. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
Lawyer Keppy Wong speaks during a press conference in Ampang May 5, 2021. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

Lawyer Keppy Wong, representing the family, said denying Hong the right to see his legal counsel is a violation of Section 28A of the Criminal Procedure Code, which maintains the rights of the suspect to be informed on the grounds of arrest, to inform a relative or friend on the arrest, and to consult with a legal practitioner.

“The only exception to this is if seeing the legal counsel will jeopardise the investigation, which must come in the form of a certificate provided by a Deputy Superintendent. 

“My colleague and I did manage to see a senior officer with the district headquarters, but apart from being informed that Hong has since been sent to the Jinjang police lock-up for custody, we were denied permission to meet with him.

“I have since sent a letter to the Sentul police chief, but today we are insisting that Hong has the right to see both his legal counsel and family,” he said. 

Wong said it may also be necessary to ensure Hong receives a medical examination and treatment if the claims of being beaten up are true. 

“He should also be given a chance to lodge a police report over the assault. Do not deny him his rights as a human being. 

“The right to see his family members is admittedly one granted at the discretion of the police. But the right to see his legal counsel is inalienable, and cannot be denied,” he said.

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