Press Statement: Lawyers for Liberty is extremely shocked and concerned to learn of the latest statistics of fatal police shootings that was revealed in P.Uthayakumar’s sedition trial today. According to a police officer from Bukit Aman, in 2008 and 2009, there were 82 and 88 deaths respectively caused by police shootings.

These latest statistics become even more shocking when compared to the previous years: 2000: 9 deaths; 2001: 5; 2002: 27; 2003: 17; 2004: 13; 2005: 9: 2006: 16; and 2007: 13. This would mean that the fatal shootings in 2008 and 2009 were a 17 fold increase compared to the lowest number of 5 fatal shootings in 2001.

With these statistics, we can only come to the unmistakable conclusion that the police are trigger happy and will shoot at the slightest opportunity in breach of the laws, regulations and the Inspector General of Police Standing Order (IGSO).

Over the last couple of years, we have seen a spike in the number of unjustifiable and unlawful shootings of innumerable persons, apparently for fleeing from the police or plainclothes police personnel when confronted (even for minor offences) or that they “attacked” and the police only shot in self defence even though there is no evidence to make such claims.

In all these cases, senior police and government officials as usual blindly defended the police force and refused to look into the possibility that the police personnel may have been too quick or had unjustifiably discharged firearms causing deaths or serious injuries.

So what has become of the Home Ministry’s special panel that was formed in the aftermath of Aminulrasyid Amzah’s shooting case that reportedly has recommended that the current IGSO be improved? Apparently nothing and looked to be just another public relations stunt.

While the Government and the police remain blind and deaf to mounting public concerns and the crisis of confidence, more and more people are gunned down. Just look at the recent deaths of Mohd Shamil Hafiz Shafie, 16, Mohd Khairul Nizam Tuah, 20, and Mohd Hanafi Omar, 22. Acting Selangor police chief A.Thaiveegan made the incredible claim that these young men were “seasoned criminals” and they were part of a gang known as “Geng Minyak”. The police alleged that the suspects rushed at the police with machetes and that the police shot in self defence when it was more probable that they were killed in cold blood by the police.

Lawyers for Liberty calls for the Royal Commission of Inquiry to be formed immediately to investigate the shocking rise of fatal police shootings in recent years; that the perpetrators of these unjustifiable and unlawful killings be brought to justice; that the IPCMC be formed; and that the police undergo drastic reforms that are consistent with international policing standards and procedures.

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Lawyers for Liberty