SHAH ALAM: A passer-by’s car was attacked by a group of people during the riots at the Seafield Sri Mariamman Temple in the early morning of Nov 27 last year – but some members of the group later apologised to the victims after they spoke in Mandarin.
Witness Chan Wei Jie said that the group was the same one who earlier attacked the Fire and Rescue Department vehicles as they arrived at the site.
Chan, who was the passenger of the car that was attacked, was the 19th witness called to the inquest into the death of fireman Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim, which is on its 12th day yesterday.
Chan said he and a family friend were in the area at around 1.15am as they were driving towards his house in USJ12 from USJ 16. At that time, he said, the car was parked in the middle of Jalan Usaha as there was a traffic standstill due to the commotion that was happening.
It was when the car stopped then that he noticed the flashing lights of the Fire and Rescue Department’s fire truck, he said.
“Then I heard the sound of cars banging (into each other).
“The next thing I saw was that the fire truck was reversing and some guys with long sticks started hitting the fire truck.
“I assumed that the truck (driver) was in a panic, as he reversed towards us and banged into my car,” said Chan.
Under questioning from DPP Faten Hadni Khairuddin, who is on the three-member team from the Attorney General’s Chambers, Chan said the car he was in became the focus of the group after the Fire and Rescue Department’s vehicles left the site.
Faten: What happened after that?
Chan: Then people started surrounding my car. Some were chasing the fire truck and some surrounded my car.
Faten: So what did they do to your car?
Chan: At first they were asking us to stop our car, as in, stop the engine. The reason they said was because Uncle (the family friend) was trying to start the car. There were several people who were telling us to leave at the same time.
Faten: From the same group?
Chan: Yes, same group. I then got out of the car as there was debris (as the windows from the car were broken). I then stood at the side of the road.
Chan said the group surrounded and shouted towards the car but as his family friend continued to start the car they started hitting the car with their bare hands and sticks, forcing the elder man to get out of the car.
“We both then just looked at them hitting the car,” said Chan.
“After I started to communicate with Uncle, one of them asked everyone to stop,” he said.
Faten: Why did they suddenly stop when you started to communicate?
Chan: I had no idea but we were speaking in Mandarin.
Faten: When they heard you speaking in Mandarin, they stopped hitting the car?
Chan said that by that time, the car was already damaged, with all of its windows broken and dents to its front bonnet and fender.
He said that after the group stopped attacking the car, three men from the group helped Chan and the family friend to get back into the car.
Chan said the family friend managed to get the car to start and they drove off.
“Most of them said sorry and some of them asked us to go straight to the police station,” Chan said, adding that he and the family friend drove straight to the USJ 8 police station after the fracas.
Judge Rofiah Mohamad sits as coroner for the inquest, which is held at the Shah Alam Sessions Court.
The inquest will continue on March 19.
On Monday (March 4), the Court of Appeal in Putrajaya will hear an application from the lawyers representing the temple’s task force to stay the inquest.