Following a melee that erupted between customers and sales clerks in a smartphone shop on Saturday (11th July) at Low Yat Plaza, a disturbance broke out at the mall around 6:30pm on Sunday (12th July) as a group of “protestors” gathered to “get proper justice”. Police managed to disperse the crowd in the nick of time, but that didn’t stop another disturbance from breaking out. A total of 5 people, including media personnel, were reportedly injured in fistfights between members of both groups that night as helmets and other items were thrown at each other.
The brawl happened at around midnight after police dispersed protesters at the mall.
According to The Star Online, a group of youth barged into the mall and caused a fiasco in a smartphone store on Saturday night to seek revenge against the sales clerks who caught them shoplifting and turned one of them over to the police earlier that day. The commotion and the fight were caught on a video that went viral on social media. Kuala Lumpur CID chief Senior Asst Comm Datuk Zainuddin Ahmad told reporters that the thugs “entered the shop at 7.50pm and began smashing the glass display, flipping over cabinets, and smashing phones and other electronic products.” The sales clerks tried to stop them, but ended up in an all-out brawl on the ground floor of the shopping mall.
Salesman See Ming Ho, who was also at the scene, claimed that this group of youth attacked the workers from the Oppo store for aiding him in handing one of the them over to the police after allegedly caught shoplifting. According to See, the man who started the fight was “on the pretence of looking at phones” earlier that day. “We were negotiating and when I then turned away to get a free gift for him, he was gone,” See said. However, the stolen phone, which was a Lenovo S860 worth RM799, was not found on the man after he was caught. He lodged a police report on the theft at the Dang Wangi police station.
Contrary to the story that was being spread online, See explained that the Oppo salespeople weren’t selling a fake phone to the man and were instead helping him to apprehend the man. He said, “Many are saying the dispute started because the Oppo salespeople sold a fake phone to the man, but that’s not true. They only helped me catch him – he was stealing from my kiosk.”
SAC Zainuddin said that they’ve already arrested a 22-year-old man who was believed to be one of the thugs. “His friend was not happy and called other people to go to the shop to damage products,” he said. He added they’re also on a hunt to search for the remaining 6 men who caused the commotion and smashed up RM70,000 worth of electronics.
Following Saturday’s melee, a group of protestors, which is believed to have been led by Malay-Muslim group Pertubuhan Kebajikan dan Dakwah Islamiah Se-Malaysia (Pekida), caused another commotion by gathering at the popular tech shopping mall to protest what they claimed was “biased investigations” by the police at around 6:30pm. The group, numbering up to over 100 people, forced authorities to order all shops in the area, including 24-hour convenience stores to close their businesses early.
According to The Malaysian Insider, one group was “heard screaming derogatory and unsavoury remarks” and appeared ready to barge into the mall when the authorities ordered all businesses in that premise to close early. A group was also overheard demanding to meet Kuala Lumpur police chief Datuk Tajuddin Md Isa. The group barged into the mall at around 8:35pm, but police managed to bring them out.
Police sent in four Federal Reserve Units and a water canon in Jalan Bukit Bintang, sweeping the area of the trouble-makers. The crowd dispersed by 10pm. SAC Zainuddin said that several arrests were made that night, with 3 in connection with theft. One individual was arrested for provocative behaviour at the protest. All 4 individuals, who are aged between 22 and 25, will facilitate investigations. SAC Tajuddin assured that police will conduct fair investigation towards all those involved.
However, fistfights broke out again at around midnight, attacking patrons with motorcycle helmets. An eyewitness said that the group numbering between 50 to 60 people can be seen barging into a food outlet near the mall and attacking the targeted patrons. Some of those targeted are believed to be media photographers. A journalist who tried to protect the photographer was also beaten up by the angry mob. A group of people shielded the two, whom later sought shelter in a nearby hotel. Another 2 Federal Reserve Unit vehicles were deployed to the scene at 1am. Sounds of explosions were heard at the scene and police have cordoned off the main road entrance to the mall.
SAC Zainuddin Ahmad announced that the brawl last night was not racially motivated, but purely an act of revenge by a group of youths. SAC Tajuddin also urged public not to speculate on what had happened and allow police to conduct their investigation of the case. “We are going to investigate both parties thoroughly without any bias,” he said. MCA Youth also advised people not to spread videos of the brawl as all of them could cause racial tension. Gerakan public complaints bureau chairman Wilson Lau Hoi Keong, who was also at the scene on Sunday, said that the public should refrain from speculating on the case as it was currently being investigated. He said, “All parties should calm down and let the police investigate the matter.”
UPDATE (13th July, 12:35PM):
Malay-Muslim group Pertubuhan Kebajikan dan Dakwah Islamiah Se-Malaysia (Pekida), who was believed to be leading a group of protestors at Plaza Low Yat, has denied their involvement in the brawl.
A representative of the organisation told The Star Online on Monday (13th July), “For Pekida, before we hold any gathering, there has to be instructions first. In this case, no instructions were given.”
He also said that this incident should be left to the police to investigate, adding:
As of now, we have not received a report on the incident. We are currently trying to get in touch with the authorities to receive the full facts of what had happened. Whatever it is, the matter has been handed over to the authorities, so that they may conduct investigations.
He further explained, “With correct, fair and transparent investigations, I feel that the matter can be resolved, and any racial tension and elements that may seek to disrupt unity can be avoided.”
As the time of writing, only 6 individuals involved in the mob attack have been arrested.