Sunday, February 20, 2011

Refugees Face Daylight Extortions by Police in Malaysia

Malaysian police have been reported of conducting daylight 'stop-and-search' operations on the streets which involved unlawful obtainment of personal belongings from refugees and asylum seekers from Burma.

The police patrolling on the roads or waylaying in the street corners of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia targeted refugees working in the mornings and evenings, with scores of Chin refugees reporting extortions including money, handphones and UNHCR cards in recent weeks, according to the VOCR (Voice of Chin Refugees) news.

Last Thursday, Ha Hung Thang, a Chin interpreter from Kanpetlet Township of Burma's Chin State working for International Rescue Committee (IRC), was stopped on his way home from work by a group of Malaysian police and forced to give money despite presenting his UNHCR card and making attempts to explain his situations.

"The police in Malaysia stop us on the streets and take all our belongings we have with us. Sometimes, we don't have money left to go home. Even going to church on Sundays is not safe for us at all. The UNHCR Card protects us from arrests and detentions in Malaysia but not from extortions from the police," one of the Chin refugees in Malaysia told Chinland Guardian.

Meanwhile, dozens of refugee families living in one of the apartment buildings on Jalan Imbi, Kuala Lumpur are facing problems finding 'affordable' places after they have been told to move out following a new project that requires a demolition of the building.