Police Allegedly Tried to Extort RM20,000 from E-Hailing Driver for Picking Up “Illegal Immigrants”

For illustration purposes only (source: FMT)

Just earlier this month, two policemen were arrested due to allegedly extorting a couple for RM500. This time around, an e-hailing driver claims that he had been falsely accused and police tried to extort him for RM20,000.

The man, who wants to be known as Kamarul Ariffin, spoke at a press conference at the MCA Civil Society Movement Coordination Bureau at Wisma MCA yesterday (18 Aug) as he wants to fight back and prove his innocence.

According to NST, Kamarul said that the police accused him of human trafficking by picking up illegal immigrants. The incident happened in the Tanjung Sepat area at Kuala Langat on 18 May.

During a casual working day as an e-hailing driver, he picked up some passengers which he got via the e-hailing app. While en route to his destination, he was then stopped by a team of policemen.

“I cooperated with them and followed their instructions but they didn’t gave me a chance to speak or prove myself. All they said was that I had illegal immigrants in my car. They immediately put me in handcuffs and took me and the passengers to the police station.

“While at the station, I saw them use my car to bring more people, presumably illegal immigrants, to the station,” Kamarul claimed.

Once at the station, Kamarul was then held in custody for nine days before being released on 27 May.

Kamarul Ariffin (source: NST)

Just when things couldn’t get any worse, the investing officer (IO) called him on 9 June and threatened to charge him under Section 27 of Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants (ATIPSOM) Act 2007.

“The IO said if I didn’t want to be put behind bars, I have to pay him RM20,000 to ‘kautim‘ (settle) the case. When I asked him why the amount was so high, he replied that RM5,000 was for him, RM5,000 for the station chief, another RM5,000 for the public prosecutor and RM5,000 for the magistrate,” he explained.

Kamarul refused to pay and instead, lodged a police report on the incident at the Beranang police station on 8 Aug.

He maintained that he has done nothing wrong and that he has been unfairly treated. The whole situation was shocking to him as he had been a driver since 2016 and “never had any issues with the company or the authorities”.

He said he had proof of his innocence via his e-hailing driver mobile app, which showed that he picked up the passengers based on the job assigned. Fortunately, he also got everything recorded through a dashcam in his vehicle when it happened.

“It’s impossible for drivers to lie about what jobs we take or even choose jobs in the app as everything is recorded. In spite of that, the police kept accusing me of smuggling illegal immigrants,” he urged.

For illustration purposes only (source: AsiaOne)

Meanwhile, MCA Civil Society Movement Coordination Bureau chief, Ng Kian Nam, said Kamarul’s account suggested unlawful arrest, abuse of power and corruption. As an immediate measure, they will be assisting the complainant in lodging a report with the police Integrity and Enforcement Division.

Ng also said that the accusations levelled at the victim could have been easily verified through the e-hailing service provider without having to detain the victim for more than a week.

“The alleged offer made by the investigating officer for Kamarul to pay RM20,000 if he wanted the case dropped is absurd and undermines not just the force but also the judicial system,” he said.