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Friday October 11, 2013 MYT 7:51:00 PM
Friday October 11, 2013 MYT 7:54:09 PM
by tan yi liang
PETALING JAYA: There is no requirement for the police to fire warning shots at suspected gang members, said Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi on Friday.
"If they do (fire warning shots), the gangsters will run if they are unarmed and if they are armed, police personnel will die," said Ahmad Zahid in an interview with online portal IMRTV.
He added intelligence was important in identifying targets for police actions.
"Targets are identified after information is obtained that these people are armed and are gangsters. I just said gangsters must be eradicated and it is up to the Inspector-General of Police, the state police chiefs and the Criminal Investigation Department to determine how best to go about this," said Ahmad Zahid.
He was speaking in response to criticism from various quarters, including MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek, about comments made at a security seminar in Malacca in which he said the police should shoot suspected criminals.
Chua, in response had said Ahmad Zahid was being overzealous and “perhaps, in his excitement, Dr Ahmad Zahid was shooting from the hip”.
Responding to the criticism, Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar took to Twitter earlier Friday to defend Ahmad Zahid and the police, saying that police personnel were not "cowboys."
"We don't purposely take people's lives. We only shoot in defence of our own lives. Just to make you all safer. In a shootout, what choice is available to us?
Faced with the risk of being killed, we still take the risk. Just to make you safer," said Khalid in two tweets, in which he praised police personnel for risking their safety to protect the public, including those who criticised the police.
Meanwhile, Bar Council past president and criminal defence lawyer Ragunath Kesavan called on Khalid to disclose the police’s standard operating procedure for the use of firearms.
"Whatever it is, you are supposed to use reasonable force when arresting someone. When they don't threaten your life you are not supposed to discharge your weapon. And more importantly, as a police officer you are trained and you should know when and how to use your firearms," said Ragunath.
He cited the 2010 death of 14-year old Aminulrasyid Amzah as a clear-cut case of what the police can and cannot do when it comes to firearm usage, adding that there must be a direct threat to the life of police personnel for them to resort to using their firearms.
In the Aminulrasyid Amzah case, a policeman was charged under Section 304 of the Penal Code in the Shah Alam Sessions Court in 2010 with causing Aminulrasyid's death between 1.10am and 2am on April 26, 2010 at Jalan Tarian 11/2, Section 11, Shah Alam.
"When you are approaching someone to arrest them, you can't take out your gun to shoot them. Because you have a licence to carry a gun and the power to arrest, you should be extremely careful and cautious as to how you exercise your powers," added Ragunath.
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