Police: 24 arrested over Cheras Chinese temple fracas, now for prosecutors to decide next course of action

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Police on standby at the Wong Low Shen See Chee How Temple near Salak Selatan after several arrests were made in regards to a demolition protest September 29, 2021. ― Picture by Hari Anggara
Police on standby at the Wong Low Shen See Chee How Temple near Salak Selatan after several arrests were made in regards to a demolition protest September 29, 2021. ― Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 1 — Police said today a total of 24 people have been arrested in connection with a commotion over an alleged misunderstanding over demolition work that took place outside the Wong Low Shen See Chee How Temple earlier this week, with investigations already wrapped up for further prosecutorial action.

Cheras police chief Assistant Commissioner Muhammad Idzam Jaafar said 20 out of all suspects detained were the result of subsequent arrests that took place over the span of two days after the initial incident on September 28.

“On September 29, police managed to pick up two more male suspects aged between 38 and 56 around 8.30pm.

“On September 30, police surrounded the temple to carry out more arrests, but temple representatives willingly surrendered, together with an apology letter, at around 1.30am.

“This second group comprised 12 men and six women aged between 18 and 84. The latest arrests meant that all suspects involved in the scuffle are now in custody,” he said in a statement here.

Muhammad Idzam also revealed that prosecutors have been informed of the status of the police probe as of today, with authorities recommending charges for various offences under the Penal Code.

Said offences include Section 148 for rioting, Section 186 for obstructing a civil servant in discharging their duties and Section 353 for assault on a public servant.

He also said police have recommended that all suspects be charged with violating Covid-19 standard operating procedures for gathering en masse in public.

Recounting the chronology of events, Muhammad Idzam reiterated that a joint operation with the Kuala Lumpur Land and Mines Office (PTG) was conducted on the morning of September 28, with police presence to ensure public safety.

At around 2.14pm, authorities noticed a scuffle taking place after temple representatives expressed their disgruntlement over discussions with PTG officials.

He said the group, comprising some 20 to 30 individuals aged between 18 and 60, then proceeded to obstruct and damage an excavator with wooden sticks while also assaulting police personnel on duty.

Subsequently, authorities managed to arrest four initial suspects after breaking up the commotion.

He also said two of the 24 suspects arrested were released on police bail due to their age after they were remanded for investigations.

Muhammad Idzam also implored the public to refrain from speculating or making assumptions that could lead to public disorder, asserting that authorities had no intention to demolish the temple structure.

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