KUALA LUMPUR, July 25, 2015:
Uploading of videos showing a suspect or an individual being punished or attacked could lead to grave consequences, said Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation deputy chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye.
He acknowledged that videos showing a suspect or suspects being beaten up were usually well-intentioned, that is, to educate or to expose wrongdoing.
But these videos could also be taken advantage of by irresponsible elements to mislead the public, he said.
Lee cited the recent incident at Low Yat Plaza, which was initially a simple case of handphone theft but developed into a potentially detrimental racial issue.
“The incident went ‘viral’ as people took the opportunity to twist the facts and spread them to cause tension among the races. See how dangerous it can be,” he said.On July 12, Low Yat Plaza was a picture of chaos when two youth groups began a fight following a quarrel between a teenager and a group of traders at the premises.
A video of the fight went viral in the social media with many people being misled by adverse comments that it was racially provoked.
On another case in which two suspected cattle thieves were assaulted by a group of men, he said the latter could face action under Section 302 of the Penal Code, for murder, if the victims had died.
A video of the incident at Felda Jengka 17 in Maran, Pahang, showing the group forcing the two suspects, in their 20s, to eat cow dung, and torching the suspects’ vehicle also went viral.
Lee said the situation becomes dangerous when people allow anger and over-enthusiasm ‘to teach the suspects a lesson’, to dominate sensibility.Meanwhile, Malaysian Crime Prevention Awareness Board president Datuk Seri Saharuddin Awang Yahaya said the public had no right to punish or harm any individual who they suspected had committed a crime.
He said the public should only apply physical force if the suspect was armed and they were trying to defend or save themselves.
“If they attack him and he dies, they can be tried for murder. They must never allow themselves to become emotional and cloud their judgement.
”They should hand over the suspect to the authorities for further action,” he said.
Saharuddin also said uploading a video or photograph of a suspect was inhumane and a humiliation.
“It is wrong to do so even if all they had intended was to show how they had managed to catch and teach the culprit a lesson.
“We must always remember that as human beings we have our dignity. What if someone beat us up even though we did not commit the crime?” he reasoned.