Earlier this month, two young hawkers from Kepong had reportedly been blackmailed by police on their way to work. They told their story to Kepong MP Lim Lip Eng who posted the incident on Facebook. It then caught the police’s attention.
Initially, the police stated that their complaint was authentic. However, on 17th June, the hawkers retracted their statement and the story changed. Dissatisfied and feeling something was off, local singer-rapper Namewee (黃明志) got involved.
The previous story was that the two hawkers had been on the way to their stall when they were stopped by three policemen. They claimed the policemen extorted RM500 from them when they couldn’t produce the work travel permit from the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI). However, they later said they had made false accusations and that the incident did not happen.
In a different press conference, the older hawker (21) explained that he had changed his statement because he couldn’t stand the overwhelming pressure of the incident. He hadn’t expected it to blow up so much and wanted it to be over as soon as possible. “I really don’t want to do this everyday,” he said. “I have my own life to live and I have to do my job well.” He feels as though the incident has consumed his life and wasted his time. “I just want to let it go,” he stated.
On 20th June, Namewee made a video on YouTube about the incident. In it, he shared that he had once faced something similar to the young hawkers. He had gone to the police after receiving a threatening letter from an unknown source. According to the singer-rapper, the police had investigated his family and home but failed to find the culprit. Namewee too had opted to give up in order to continue his life. Their shared situations made him sympathetic to them and Namewee urged the hawkers to contact him as he wants to help them financially. “Don’t give up,” he urged the young hawkers.
Yesterday (21st June), Namewee reported on social media that the victims had contacted him. He stated he now has the full story and it was as he expected. “It was the same as what happened to me before,” he wrote. According to Namewee, the hawker had retracted his statement after being harassed relentlessly by the police. This in turn had affected his business.
The rapper apologised for not being able to publicise the content yet. “If I’m unprepared, the X Party and the police won’t let me…” he said. Namewee promised that he is making preparations before the reveal. However, he has to act very carefully as he has no political backing. “The most important thing is to protect my family, (the victim’s) family, as well as myself,” he stated. “Justice will be late, but never absent!”
The hawker’s situation isn’t looking too great right now. With his retracted statement, many would have lost their faith in him and even with the new information, he would still be doubted. However, with Namewee stepping in, things may change for the young hawkers. We sincerely hope justice will be served.
Watch Namewee’s video about the incident here: