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Friday February 3, 2006

A bald experience


A BALD EXPERIENCE: These were among a group of 11 elderly friends who had their Chinese New Year reunion mahjong session cut short in a coffee shop in Kajang when police raided and arrested them for gambling illegally on Jan 30. They were taken to the district police headquarters, put in a lock-up and had their heads shaven bald. Among the eight who gave a press conference to complain of the treatment are (from left) Chee Kit Sing, 65, Chi Kong Eng, 31, Tee Boon Kiah, 55, Lee Chu Heng, 63, Lim Kee Swee,64, Lee Swee Fong, 49, and Lim Yew Bee, 54. - Starpic by KAMARUL ARIFFIN
KAJANG: A group of elderly friends who were enjoying a game of mahjong on the second day of Chinese New Year ended up being shaven bald. 

The reason – their camaraderie was rudely interrupted during a police raid on a coffee shop where they were enjoying the game.  

The men aged between 31 and 69, all from Pekan Bt. 11 here, were arrested, hauled into a police truck and taken to the district police headquarters. 

They were picked up for being allegedly involved in illegal gambling. 

Eight of the 11 men accompanied by Balakong assemblyman Datuk Hoh Hee Lee held a press conference at the Bangunan MCA in Taman Indah here yesterday, claiming they were poorly treated. 

The men claimed that while in the lock-up, police personnel shaved their heads after they were forced to strip to their underwear. 

They also claimed that they were released at 6.30pm the next day. 

While the men were unhappy that their heads were shaved bald for a minor offence, Kajang OCPD Asst Comm Mohd Noor Hakim said it was normal lock-up procedure to shave a detainee's head. 

“We were just following the lock-up rules which states that “rambut mesti di potong pendek-pendek” (hair must be cut short), ACP Mohd Noor said adding that police would continue with this procedure.  

Coffeeshop owner Chi Kong Eng, one of those arrested, said when he stepped out of his shop just after 12am, he saw a group of plainclothes policemen alighting from a police truck and two patrol cars near the entrance. 

“They rushed in, rounded us up and bound us in chains before ordering us to get inside the truck. The next thing I knew, a policeman was shaving my head,” Chi said. 

The oldest person in the group, Chen Kin See, 69, said the mahjong game was an annual gathering among childhood friends during the new year. 

“What threat are we to them when we were just having a game peacefully,” he asked. 

Chen also pointed out that they used plastic chips instead of money when playing. 

Hoh said that police treated the men as though they were hardcore criminals. “It was just friends and neighbours having a private gathering,” he said. 

“We are all for clamping down on gambling, but the police action on this incident is totally unreasonable.” 

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