Drug Bust Jails 22 Innocents
Two Friends. The two of us, the other I will call Jack. What started out as a regular night out will turn into something ugly. Where the two of us and two dozen others will be detained, hand cuffed, jailed, degraded, stripped of clothing, extorted and shamed. This will be a story of corruption and of police mishandling
It was a drug bust at a famous night club at Sri Hartamas. Something that all of us, later proved innocent by hospital chemical tests will never forget.
The Entry (24/09/05 - 10.30pm)
It was a great day, in fact a great week, I was looking forward to this weekend. Nothing special, nevertheless, just a night out to Sri Hartamas for a glass of wine and later to Soda, a popular nightclub in the area. Nothing could have forewarned me of the kind humiliation that was forthcoming.
Soda (25/09/05 - 12.00pm)
After my glass of wine, we made our way to Soda. Some friends of ours were there. We had a few whiskey cokes, enjoyed the music and the company. Until it was 2 in the morning.
The Raid (25/09/05 - 2.00am)
Came out from the toilet and and there was this policeman on the mic. It was a drugs bust he would proceed to say and that everybody cannot leave until all the urine samples were taken and tested. Fine I thought. No problem, just quickly take my urine and get it tested so I could go out and grab something to eat.
Problem is, there were a few hundred of us in the club and they did the test 10 at a time. From the time of the raid, it would end up taking them 2 ½ hours to clear all of us. They took all our identity cards and called us out 10 at a time.
Anyhow, my turn came and I did as instructed, urinated into the plastic container half full and handed them the container for ‘on-the-spot’ testing. They dropped in the instant drugs tester. Left it in the urine for about a minute and the results showed I was positive for 5 of the 6 tested drugs. I had my eye on my sample at all times. I thought this must be a mistake so naturally I remained calm.
I was then herded into a cordoned off area and had to wait till 7am for the police lorry to come pick us up. While waiting we were requesting for a second re-test as there was obviously a mistake. We were all denied a re-test.
We were told that our urine samples were to be taken to a hospital laboratory for conclusive drug tests.
The Pick Up (25/09/05 – 7.00am)
The lorry finally arrived at 7am after a long wait at the club, we were not told anything, we did not know what was going to happen. And when they did tell us what was happening to us, all of the policemen came out with different answers. With all the different answers flying around, it was as good as being perfectly ignorant.
Anyhow, we all got into the lorry. It was degrading because we are law abiding citizens who have never done anything more wrong than speeding on the highway. And here we are, being herded into a blue police lorry which is used for rounding up drug addicts and prostitutes as commonly seen in newspaper articles.
We arrived at the Kuala Lumpur police headquarters and made to sit on the floor until 11am. While we were there we were treated very rudely, there was even a policeman who threatened to beat up a fellow detainee. Mind you, we were all proved innocent in the end and these policemen in the narcotics department treated us like convicts and did not entertain any questions. We did not know our rights, we were not informed of our rights and the narcotics police took advantage of that.
We were later told to sign a document. When I tried to read the document I was told off by the narcotics policeman. ‘NO NEED TO READ THE DOCUMENT’ he said, JUST SIGN!! Still disbelieving what is happening to us and confident that this will all be settled by the afternoon, I signed the papers.
Till this day I still do not know what I signed.
At 11am we were again herded back into the blue lorry. I did not know where they were taking us this time.
Pudu Jail (25/09/05 – 11.00am)
The blue lorry brought us to Pudu Jail. The disused jail which will be demolished in a years time. This jail is over a hundred years old and has housed the worst of mankind. The murderers, rapists, drug dealers. This building was not built to house people like us. We, the model of society. Think of your saddest moment. Where your heart sinks and your spirit dies. This moment is equivalent.
Most of us were still in denial. We still thought that everything will be ok, that we’ll be out soon.
We were placed near the front of the prison, it was not yet inside, we were made to sit in rows of three. By this time it has been a full half day since we had anything to eat or drink. But none of us were hungry. Then a policeman showed up, a good Samaritan. He offered us some bread and water and proceeded to collect RM10 from all of us. That would mean RM200 +. He came back a half hour later, gave us each a pack of bread and a small bottle of water. Suddenly the angel became a devil. He had pocketed for himself about RM200. Even when we were in such a desperate condition, there are people who would do anything for money. This is no longer greed, his heart had turned black. Mind you, this is a policeman, the very people who are supposed to uphold the right and punish the wrong. The protector of justice, had just become a criminal. And he was walking free… in jail.
A few hours later we were placed in handcuffs. HANDCUFFS! Nobody knows how it felt. How to live your life the best you can and be treated this way. Imagine you son, or your most loved one in a handcuff, chained together with all the others and led out into the street, and you would understand what it felt. Now imagine that it was you.
We were herded once again into a lorry and brought to a magistrate.
The Magistrate (25/09/05 – 1 something pm)
The magistrate was in the Cheras police station, we were told there that there was no chance for bail because it was a Sunday and the court house was not open. I voiced my objections once again and requested for a re-test for obvious reasons. We were all told that the magistrate was powerless to act on anything. All they did was to read to us that we are suspected drug addicts and that we will be remanded (jailed) for 12 days until the court date or until bail was set. Which was Monday at the earliest.
These entire proceedings were held while we were all still in handcuffs and chained up together. I was later told that when I left the room the magistrate lady said… ‘all these rich kids, they are all like that’. Even the magistrate is blissfully ignorant of what is happening in front of her very own eyes, she has already concluded before any trial that we were ALL guilty.
The proceedings were over within an hour of arriving at the Cheras police station and we were once again herded into the blue police lorries.
Pudu Jail Revisited (25/09/05 – 2 something pm till the next day)
We are back in Jail. This time it was about 2 something or maybe 3pm. Shortly after we were called to sit on the prison pavement again, to wait for our prison clothes while it is being prepared. Names were called out individually. Each person was called into a room where each person took about 5-15 minutes each. This was to collect our prison clothes. It was simple yet it took so long. I didn’t know why until some of the accused came out of the room.
While in the room, the police offered a cigarette in apparent goodwill. So some of them took the offer. With such frayed nerves, anything is welcome to help take the pain away. After the accused took the cigarette, RM10 was taken out of their wallets. The policemen took the money in place of a single cigarette. A robbery had taken place, and the robbers were the policemen, and they were walking free… in jail.
Happened to so many of us. They couldn’t steal from me though. Simply because I had no cash and no belongings on me. I had passed them to Jack’s mother when she came earlier. So naturally they did not offer me a cigarette.
Prison clothes consisted of only a pair of track pants. Just a single piece. No shirt, no underwear was allowed and no shoes. We were to stay in prison with nothing else but the pants.
When we walked through the walkway into the main prison compound, we were in shock. All the prisons you have seen on TV is nothing compared to the horrid conditions of Pudu Jail. Everybody in prison was frail thin, bony. The only fat people were the policemen guarding the prison. We were told to put our belongings into a cell and leave them there, we were then made to one by one strip naked and made to do squats in front of all the other jail mates. I had never done anything wrong in my life, why was I being treated this way?!! It was degrading. It angered me.
After that was out of the way, we were put 6 in a cell, the cell hardly measured 2 meter by 3 ½ meters. There were no beds, there was no toilet, there was no ventilation. Just concrete walls and a concrete platform. If you wanted to urinate, you had to do it in a bottle inside the jail cell.
It was now almost 6pm and all we had for ¾ of a day was a small piece of bread and a small bottle of mineral water. Food finally came shortly after. It was indescribable. A pack of rice with a salted fish head measuring no more than 4cm and 2 pieces of vegetable no larger than a 50 cent coin. It was just meant to keep you alive. Just barely alive.
We just sat there for the remainder of our stay, being let out only to bathe and defecate 3 times a day for 10 minutes. Some took the situation worse than me. Somehow, the anger made me numb. So I joked and we talked, just to diffuse the situation and to allow ourselves to forget this experience.
Then there was more daylight robbery and corruption. We were told that our relatives could visit and that they could bring food and other condiments and supplies to us. FOR A PRICE. Yes… They were asking for money even in jail. RM150 must be paid to them so the items could be brought in. That does not however guarantee that the items will fully reach us. I had friends who’s relatives paid the police for the food stuff to be brought in. A whole bucket of KFC became only 3 pieces of chicken and a burger. Not only were the police corrupt, but they were sadistic and sick enough to eat the prisoner’s food. Why they were all fat is no longer a mystery.
Not only did we have to bribe them for the food, but a single phone call cost RM150, which must be paid by the visiting relative or friend. Jack got away with RM50, supposedly credited to the policeman’s pre-paid line by his mother. Somehow the policeman missed it and even dared to SMS Jack’s mother later on Monday night after we got out, asking ‘WHERE’S THE MONEY’. Not only was it daylight robbery, it was daring and I guess he must have felt invincible while wearing the police badge.
Take note that none of our parents or relatives were informed that we were being held. We had to personally call them.
We spent the night in prison, 6 to a cell sleeping on our bare backs on the cold damp concrete floor. The air was stale, there were other inmates yelling ‘TOLONG TOLONG’, it was a dreadful night. All we had was each other.
Night passed excruciatingly slowly and morning came.
Meanwhile : The Courthouse (26/09/05 – 8am)
Morning came and a large group of our parents, relatives and friends were waiting at the court house to bail us out. Most reached there very early and was informed that the bail documents would be out first thing in the morning. The bail documents only came out at 11am. And everybody was told that they have to open a bank account, deposit the bail money into the bank, make it back to the court house with all the paperwork in order by 12pm. That is exactly 1 hour. Everyone rushed to the bank, one single bank with only a few operational lines. The queue was very long and processing took forever. According to my loved ones, it was the most stressing time of their lives. Because if they did not make it back to the court house by 12pm, then I would have to stay another night.
A few ended up having to stay another night. Keep in mind that 22 of us were proven to be innocent by clinical tests. Yet some of these wrongly accused people had to spend 3 days and two nights in prison.
Personally I got out of the prison on Monday morning, my loved ones managed to bail me out in time. We put on our civilian clothes and was once again hand cuffed. Once again, my heart died and my soul withered. We were brought to the court house and I was sickened once again by the antics of the policemen.
We were in the van going by the heart of Kuala Lumpur when these two escorting policemen slid open the window and started whistling to a woman walking down the street. These are Malaysia’s policemen. And I am sickened to the bone.
We all reached the courthouse and led through the street still in handcuffs in full view of the public and our loved ones. Were told by the court that we are out on bail and given some documents that showed us where and when to collect the results of the hospital tests for our urine and when to show up in court again.
We were told to collect our blood test results from the Brickfields police station on the 2nd of October.
The Recovery (26/09/05)
I got out on the 26th of September 2005 afternoon on bail. I was driving past the Kuala Lumpur Twin Towers on at night and I thought to myself, it does not mean anything anymore. I used to be proud to be Malaysian, the twin towers used to be a source of pride. But now, all my nationalistic pride is gone, I had just been treated like a criminal by my very own country. A country which I loved… Used to love. I used to think that this country was beautiful. But now all I see is a country so currupted and so dirty. No amount of washing will clean away this feeling.
The Verdict (02/10/05)
Today, it was time to collect our results. We showed up at the Brickfields police station where 22 of us were pronounced clean and had to make our way to the court house. I asked for documentation stating we were clean. But the policemen at the police station said that there was no documentation and that they would call the court house to inform them. NO DOCUMENTATION, in an advanced economy like ours, this was unacceptable. Nevertheless, we all made our way to the court house and there we were proclaimed innocent and free to go. Again, I asked for documentation to state that we are cleared of all charges and that we were free to go. But there was NO DOCUMENTATION. No black and white. So technically, we had to trust the word of this court official which whom we do not know the name or rank.
The Anger (Now till justice is served)
All 22 of us will never be the same again. Malaysia will never be the same again. I was once a fun loving jovial person. Food no longer taste good, the sky seems perpetually cloudy, everybody I meet looks different. My girlfriend asked me if this will change me. I said maybe... And she cried.