It was a long wait for a whole day. We, Tian Choy and me, got to know that Hii Chong Fatt from Sibu, who was detained on July 8th, could be released yesterday. So we went to Bkt Jalil police station at 9.00am, armed with an approval letter from the Investigation Officer Insp Marina. When we reached the police station we were made to wait outside the police station door-contrary to practices elsewhere where you are allowed to wait inside the police office. When Hii was brought in with a police van from another block behind the police station we were asked to go to the back of the police station to meet Hii-that was like after 30 min of wait later. We saw him across a glass/perspex window where we can only speak to him through a phone-probably monitored. I briefed him about his wife calling many times and the video that attracted close to 300 000 viewing to cheer him up. He responded enthusiastically by proposing further actions against the police eg being beaten twice, once because he requested a list of his belongings taken from him at the Bkt Jalil police station. Earlier his protest banner and placard were also taken away at the Dang Wangi police station-but there was a list done then.
We were given some leeways by the friendly looking police: they allowed us to bring some breakfast to Hii and also allowed a 2nd person to visit Hii. Then the police also allowed me to speak to Hii up to 15min, instead of the shorter time allowed officially. We could not get Hii to speak to his wife as it was not easy to hook up a handphone with another phone under the gaze of the police officer.
After we left the police station we waited for the whole day in a coffee shop nearby in Kepong. There was Wifi service -so I was able to keep myself busy during the while day when we waited for the police to let us know if Hii were to be released. It did not help that the IO was on leave-and she never answer any phone or sms from me. After breakfast and lunch at the Lemon Grass cafe we decided to go to the HS Lee police station where we hope to see the IO’s superior. After we reached there we were told that the chief of the IO is an ASP Ong, who is also on leave yesterday. Then we were told that the HS Lee police staiton is administered under Dang Wangi police station-which may be able to let us know the progress of Hii’s case. We called there and was given ASP Ong’s handphone no. On the phone he offered to call us to inform us whether Hii would be charged by 5.00pm. If he was not charged he would be relased today. But if he is he will be brought to court the next day, whereupon he would be released after posting a bail.
So we waited and waited again in the air con HS Lee police station. Meanwhile I updated Hii’s family and friends in Sibu as well as SUARAM which is part of the Bersih organisers. We were heartened that a Liang from KL offered to bring meals to Hii after the member of public saw Hii’s story from the media. Some Sibu supporters also enquired seriously to come over to lend moral support to Hii. Hii’s wife also said repeatedly that he wanted to come over. I told them that Hii may be released anytime -so it would not be necessary for them to go through the trouble.
When 5.00pm approached we found ourselves at a another coffee shop where we striked up a conversation with a Bersih supporter who did not make it to sttend the rally. I called ASP Ong more than 10 time-but there was no reply. I updated all the contacts to update them that Hii may not be released on the day. But suddenly at 5.30pm Hii called! He told us that he has been released from Dang Wangi police station! But the funny thing is: he was released -but his cloths and things were not. So he needed some cloth to wear in order to go out! So I told him that I can loan him some cloth from my travel bag. So we drove to Dang Wangi through the peak traffic in KL, reaching there probably around 30min later.
At the Dang Wangi police station the police called for Hii and it took a bit more waiting before we met Hii dressed in purple lock up attire. We handed him a set of shirts in a beg. He changed into the new shirts before leaving the police station barefooted. Due to the traffic jam we decided to collect his belongings in Bkt Jalil and HS Lee police stations the next day.
Then I had to update all the relevant contacts of his release-his wife, Borneo Post, his Sibu supporters, lawyers, SUARAM, media etc.
Guessed when the ASP Ong SMS to say Hii was not to be charged? 6.00pm.
Hii will decide to give details of the police beatings in next 2 days. He will stay on in KL for next week to further his activities. He appear energetic and motivated to take on the world!