By Shannon Teoh
KUALA LUMPUR, June 9 — Bersih steering committee member Wong Chin Huat accused police today of focusing on quashing protests instead of crime after he was left with a bloodied face from being mugged by a group of bikers this morning.
The Monash University lecturer wrote on social media platform Facebook that he was jogging near his home in Section 18, Petaling Jaya at 7.40am when he was surrounded by a group of as least five young men who attacked him when he tried to flee.
“I had been a victim of police violence. Today I become a victim of police failure in deterring crime. No, it was not politically motivated. They were only after money.
“But rising crime rate is political. Was told another man was robbed recently in that neighbourhood. Where are the police when we are not demonstrating?” he wrote, referring to clashes between police and supporters of Bersih’s April 28 rally for free and fair elections.
Wong has just been discharged from Universiti Malaya Medical Centre after an X-ray.
Bersih’s planned sit-in at Dataran Merdeka had descended into chaos after some protestors tried to enter the historic square which the court had barred to the public and the past month has seen authorities and those backing the rally blaming each other for the violence that resulted.
Several dozen members of the public have come forward with allegations of police brutality while the police and Home Ministry insist they have evidence that some who attended the rally wanted bloodshed and even death.
The government has set up a panel to investigate the April 28 violence, but the choice of former police chief Tun Hanif Omar has been widely criticised after he compared the movement to communism and accused the organisers of an attempted coup.
The April 28 rally that saw tens of thousands gather at six different locations before heading to Dataran Merdeka was peaceful until about 2.30pm when Bersih leader Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan asked the crowd to disperse.
But her announcement was not heard by most of the crowd who persisted to linger around the historic square which the court had already barred to the public over the weekend.
Just before 3pm, some protestors breached the barricade surrounding the landmark, leading police to disperse the crowd with tear gas and water cannons.
Police then continued to pursue rally-goers down several streets amid chaotic scenes which saw violence from both sides over the next four hours.
Several dozen demonstrators have claimed that they were assaulted by groups of over 10 policemen at a time and visual evidence appears to back their claim but police also point to violence from rally-goers who also attacked a police car.
The police car then crashed into a building before some protestors flipped it on its side.
Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and PKR deputy president Azmin Ali have been accused of ordering the breach and are currently awaiting trial under the Peaceful Assembly Act for participating in an illegal street assembly.