- Photos and video by GOH GAIK LEE, WAN MOHIZAN WAN HUSSEIN, GARY CHEN, LIM BENG TATT, CHAN BOON KAI and ZHAFARAN NASIB
THE police took no nonsense from the rabble trading insults and trying to out-shout each other outside the courthouse while the first mention of Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s two corruption charges went on inside the High Court.
They kept a watchful eye on both groups — the DAP supporters and the members of NGOs that are critical of Lim’s administration.
When a man with a loud hailer would not stop mocking DAPsupporters despite warnings from policemen, George Town OCPD Asst Comm Mior Faridalathrash Wahid strode up to him and ordered him to move his group across the street. ACP Mior also assigned a spot for the DAP supporters, with instructions to stay there.
Things became tensed after Lim’s case was adjourned and he walked 150m from the courthouse to the Town Hall for a press conference at about 11am.
Passing vehicles had to freeze in their tracks as the crowd swarmed onto the road.
A man trailed and shouted taunts from a few steps behind Lim, who was within a ring of supporters locking their arms together.
His taunting inflamed them but before they could react, two uniformed men appeared and pinned the man to a low wall in front of Dewan Sri Pinang. They calmly kept Lim’s supporters away from the man and diffused the situation.
About 10 men from the police’s Light Strike Force — armed with short staves and riot shields — were on standby at the court grounds and did not deploy.
Besides being a minor traffic obstruction and making noise, the small groups milling along Light Street outside the courthouse caused no other problems.
Most of the city councillors, state assemblymen and Members of Parliament of Pakatan Harapan were present from as early as 7.30am.
Businesswoman Phang Li Koon arrived with her siblings at 8.30am in a black MPV, while Lim and wife Betty Chew showed up in the Chief Minister’s Mercedes-Benz at 9.15am.
Lim wore a grey suit and his red and silver-dotted tie, which he usually wears to important functions and is presumed to be his lucky tie.