Arrested TV man Jules: They abused us, tried to intimidate us
Freelance television producer Jules Ong said he and videographer Lim Chee Too were verbally abused and harassed by some 20 to 30 uniformed officers while they were covering the Orang Asli blockage in Gua Musang, Kelantan, for Singapore-based Channel News Asia.
“Basically they tried to stop us from filming. They came, they saw us there and asked us to stop. They surrounded us and shouted at us. They tried to intimidate us,” Ong told Malaysiakini.
The officers tried to grab their equipment and only stopped short of physically assaulting them.
“Their actions was totally uncalled for,” he said.
Ong said they were handcuffed and forced to surrender their equipment. They were taken to the state Forestry Department office and later handed over to the police.
Throughout the interrogation the authorities had repeatedly asked for their reasons for being at the blockades, carried out by Orang Asli natives protesting against logging.
He said lawyer-activist Siti Kassim came and negotiated for their release on police bail at 10pm on Tuesday night.
Ong said he had tried to seek an interview with the state forestry director and submitted an official request to feature their operations in the one-hour documentary. “But they did not respond… This just shows that they really do not want the people to know what has been going on,” he noted.
The Forestry Department has said the arrests were made as the blockades were illegally erected on state forest reserve land.
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