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Thursday, August 24, 2006

GoatGate 2: Press Conference at Paul's Place

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Related posts:
GoatGate 2: More Police Abuse and Conspiracy
Black Metal Court Case: GoatGate Update
Black Metal Court Case: Monday, July 31 2006

Image hosting by PhotobucketA press conference was held this afternoon at Paul's Place to clarify the incident which happened in front of the building last Saturday, August 19, 2006. A skewed and sensationaized version of the incident was reported in Harian Metro (see the related GoatGate2 post above). The Star also published a report today, which was definitely a lot more balanced compared to the Harian Metro sensationalized piece.

The following statement is from the invitation to the press conference, and provides a summary of what happened. A different re-telling (of more or less the same account) can be found at { w a s t e d t a l e n t }, including any up-to-date information or developments.

Shooting incident at Old Klang Road on 19 August 2006
(Detailed Incident Description)

Police fired warning shots in the air outside a private premises, known unofficially as "Paul's Place", owned by a Solar Power Company on Saturday, 19 August 2006.

The premises, a training Centre at the top floor of a shoplot, was rented for the day by a group of independent musicians for a private performance and party. At approximately 8:30 pm the patrons began to go home quietly and many stopped for food at a restaurant across the car park from the premises. Sometime between 9.30 to 10pm patrons at the restaurant heard gunfire. A man dressed in jeans and a black t-shirt was seen pointing a gun at people in the car park and firing shots in the air. He went up to a vehicle with people about to leave the car park and pointed the loaded gun at the driver, telling him to get out of the car for no apparent reason. He then approached a restaurant near the car park, firing shots in the air. He pointed the gun at Mr. Paul Millott, who was in the restaurant and gestured at him. He continued firing into the air as he approached the restaurant. People ran in panic. No one knew who this person was or why he opened fire.

Mr. Millott ran back to his own premises and attempted to close his café on the ground floor. He pulled down the shutter but the gunman appeared behind him a few seconds later and forced it open. Then the gunman identified himself as a police officer. Mr. Millott asked to see some identification. The gunman flashed an ID. Mr. Millott asked to take a look at it properly as it was shown too fast for him to note down the alleged officer's name and details. The gunman told Mr. Millott that, that was all he was allowed to see. Mr. Millott stood in the doorway and told the gunman that he could not enter. If he was indeed a police officer, then he had to have a warrant. The gunman told him that this was Malaysia and he could do whatever he liked. He tried shoving Mr. Millott out of the way unsuccesfuly and then another man, who also claimed to be police officer, joined the gunman and together forced Mr. Millott's hands behind his back and handcuffed him. Mr. Millott was not given any reason as to why these two men wanted to enter the empty café or why they hancuffed him.

The two men entered the empty café, followed by a man from DBKL. They looked around then released Mr. Millott. By then it became apparent to Mr. Millott that these were indeed policemen in plain clothes.

Approximately 25 youths, independent musicians and their friends were detained by the police and held in remand for 5 days.

Shortly after the event, Mr. Millott proceeded to the Brickfields police station to lodge a report on the incident.

Today, Wednesday 22 August 2006, Harian Metro published a police report of the incident in which the police claimed they were under attack by a group of independent musicians in the parking lot outside the cafe and fired warning shots in the air in self defence. However, a video of the incident taken by a member of the public tells a different story.

Café patrons and those at the scene did not see any threat against the police. The police did not warn anyone or indicate that they were police officers.

(more GoatGate 2 in the full post)

Walski received a verbal update from the press conference earlier this afternoon. Essentially, the account related above was corroborated by eyewitnesses. One of those in attendence at the Press Conference was Ms. Elizabeth Wong, human rights activist, and former Secretary General of the National Human Rights Society (HAKAM). Ms. Wong indicated that the police officer(s) should only have discharged their firearms if there were a clear and present danger to their safety. In this case, as shown in the video, there appeared to not be such a threat.

According to the invitation that myAsylum received, in addition to Ms. Wong, in attendence were Natasha Leek (Event Management exec, and chairperson for the press conference), Paul Millott (owner of Paul's Place, and Solar Power Technology Specialist), Syed Mohd Faiz (Independent Music Event Organizer) and Amer Hamzah (lawyer).

myAsylum has been informed that the said video, which was screened at the press conference, will be made available online. We will provide an update in due course.

For further information, check back here, at myAsylum, for updates. { w a s t e d t a l e n t } will also be providing updates on this incident, as and when new developments occur.