Woman, 61, ordered to strip
New Straits Time 31st March 2006
By Ranjeetha Pakiam and Iskandar Alang Bendahara
KUALA LUMPUR: A 61-year-old woman claimed yesterday that she was ordered to strip naked, ordered to turn around thrice and teased at a police station on March 11 in connection with a shoplifting case. And to add injury to insult, more than RM200 was allegedly taken from Cheng Pik Wai’s purse. Cheng, who lodged a report at the police station in Jalan Tun H.S. Lee yesterday, said her ordeal began when she was brought to the Jalan Hang Tuah police lock-up at Pudu Jail on March 11 over a "slight misunderstanding" while she was shopping at the Sogo department store. Cheng and her husband Walter Lim, 63, were at the Parliament lobby yesterday with Seputeh MP Teresa Kok to tell their side of the story. "I felt that I was not allowed to explain myself to the Sogo guard or to the police at the station. "I was treated unfairly and I felt humiliated when asked to strip," Cheng said in Mandarin at a Press conference. Cheng, who is of Taiwanese origin but is now a Malaysian citizen, does not speak Bahasa Malaysia or English. Her statements were translated by Kok. Her husband, a Malaysian, said she had first come to the country in 1971, but had constantly been in and out of the country and had only settled down here for good in 2003. Cheng said she was later taken to the Dang Wangi police station, where she was taken to a room and told to strip. The two policewomen present laughed loudly while she turned in circles three times as ordered. She said her husband came to bail her out at 8pm, but just before she was allowed out of the station, the two policewomen asked her for money. She gave them RM10. After leaving the police lock-up, she checked her purse and found only RM260 inside. Another RM209 was missing. However, the police report was only lodged yesterday as she wanted to settle matters with Sogo first. "Sogo has accepted her explanation and the misunderstanding has been cleared up," said Kok.Kuala Lumpur deputy police chief Datuk Ahmad Bahrin Idrus confirmed receiving the report."As it was recently lodged, we need a few days to complete investigation," he said.Ahmad Bahrin said he had instructed the Dang Wangi police to expedite their investigation into the allegations.He declined to comment if it was normal procedure to ask detainees to strip naked while changing into lock-up uniform in front of female police officers. "All I can say is that we need to check the allegation to see if it is true and then check it against the standard operating procedures," he said.However, he confirmed that the Inspector-General of Police’s Standing Orders on Code of Practice for Body Searches had been implemented by the city police.The police rules were announced by Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohd Bakri Omar at a three-day human rights course and distributed to 147 police chiefs in attendance on March 3 in Kuala Lumpur.The rules require suspects to be practically attired during searches, and classifies body searches into three categories: Pat-down, strip and intimate searches. There is also a requirement that searches are not conducted by officers below the rank of inspector, with consideration for gender and cultural sensitivities.