Update : Amarjit has been receiving sms’s from Hamid of the Malaysian embassy to say that the cops are still waiting to take RPK’s statement at the embassy.
At 1.26pm Bangkok time today, I sent the following sms to Hamid : Salam. Engku n i will be at the lobby of siam city hotel at 5pm to give his statement to ACP Aziz. Tq
Yesterday evening, RPK and I spoke at an event organised at the Florida Hotel in Bangkok by some Malaysians who now reside in Thailand.
The objective : to see if the seed of the Thailand or Bangkok chapter of the Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement might not be planted.
In the audience, however, was an individual who, as events that unfolded later suggest, was there for a very different agenda.
Just before the talk kicked off at 6pm Bangkok time, I was introduced to one Encik Abdul Hamid bin Bulat of the Malaysian Embassy here in Bangkok. I was to find out a little later that he had earlier spoken to RPK to say that police from Bukit Aman were waiting at the embassy to take his statement, and that he was there to ferry RPK to the embassy immediately after the talk. As to what the statement related to, upon my discussion with RPK, Marina and Amarjit later, was also a matter of some contradiction.
It seems that when Hamid spoke to RPK, he had said that the statement sought by the police was in relation to the statutory declaration made by RPK in 2008. Yet, when Amarjit inquired as to the matter under investigation for which the statement was sought, Hamid replied that he did not know the details.
This, we only discovered much later in the wee hours of this morning.
Amarjit and I were most uncomfortable with the idea of RPK going to the embassy to give his statement.
Meanwhile, even before the talk began, both Amarjit and I were receiving calls and sms’s from people back home saying that there was already media news that RPK was to be questioned at the embassy. There were also rumours flying around that he had been, or would be, arrested.
Both Amarjit and I tried to dissuade RPK from going to the embassy, suggesting that the police could come to the hotel to take his statement where we would both also be present.
We voiced our concerns that the embassy, in international law deemed as Malaysian soil, we feared that this whole business of taking his statement there was a ruse to get him in there, effect an arrest and then, with or without the aid of the local authorities, have him repatriated back to Kamunting.
RPK, seemingly believing that the statement sought was in the furtherance of investigations into the individual or individuals named in his recent interview aired over TV3, was quite determined to attend at the embassy to give his statement.
During Q&A, one of those in attendance also urged RPK not to attend at the embassy.
“If you go there, they will arrest you,” , he said.
After the talk, as we were adjourning to dinner with those who had attended the talk, a heated argument broke out between RPK, on the one side, and Marina, amarjit and I on the other.
We did not want him to go to the embassy. He was being his usual, stubborn self.
The argument carried into the dining hall and was clearly noticed by quite a few of the 40 or so who had attended the talk and the dinner.
To these folk, I apologise.
Amarjit threatened that if he insisted on going to the embassy, he would have nothing more to do with RPK.
Marina said if he was going, she was booking her flight out of Bangkok that very night.
Finally, RPK relented.
The four of us went up to Hamid and. RPK told him that he was ready to go to the embassy but Marina, Amarjit and I were not agreeable to this and he left it to Hamid to persuade us otherwise. I told Hamid that nothing he could say would persuade us away from our stand. I informed him that Amarjit and I had advised RPK and that he had acceded to our advice not to attend at the embassy. We said that RPK would give his full co-operation and his statement to the police at the hotel where he and Marina were staying.
Hamid said he would head back to the embassy and bring the police officers to the hotel.
With that, RPK, Marina, Amarjit and I headed back to the hotel.
Round about 10.15pm, Hamid, ACP Aziz and another officer who introduced himself as Tony were at the hotel. Tony, I was informed later, is a police officer attached with the embassy.
RPK, Amarjit and I met them in the hotel lobby.
The police were trying to persuade that the statement be given at the embassy. They raised questions about the inadmissibility in court if the statement were not taken in the embassy. I responded that we would undertake to not take such objection and the same could be included in the statement to be given.
Both Aziz and Hamid gave assurances that RPK would be released after the statement was taken. Amarjit and I said we were not comforted by their assurances and were not persuaded to advise RPK to attend at the embassy to give his statement.
I inquired of Aziz as to the nature of the offence being investigated for which a statement was sought from RPK.
He replied that it was for an offence under section 203 of the Penal Code.
I asked what that was.
He started to get sassy and said surely we as lawyers knew what that was.
I said I did not know what it was.
Aziz then said it was in relation to a false statement.
I inquired whether this related to a statement made in the course of the TV3 interview or the statutory declaration made by RPK in 2008.
At this point, officer Tony made some remark about ungentlemanly conduct.
There was a harsh exchange.
Amarjit then asked to see the police report made on which the current investigation was premised.
Aziz offered to show us the report at the embassy if we would all headed out there.
Both Amarjit and I immediately accepted the offer, but stipulated that RPK would remain behind at the hotel whilst the 2 of us would go to the embassy to view the contents of the police report.
Aziz now tried to do a u-turn.
We pressed to see the police report to enable us to advise RPK if it was safe to attend at the embassy.
Finally, Aziz relented.
I sent RPK up to his room and told him that he was under house arrest and that Mother Superior Marina was not going to let him out of her sight.
We got to the embassy a little after 11pm.
It was here that we were informed that Aziz did not have a copy of the police report and that was awaiting a copy to be faxed from KL.
This was the first serious confirmation for both Amarjit and I that the this whole business of wanting to take RPK’s statement at the embassy was a ruse to facilitate some other agenda.
Why would the investigating officer come all the way to Bangkok to question a witness to a possible crime and not have a copy of the police report with him?
The whole thing stank.
About an hour later, both Amarjit and I were shown the police report.
After reading it, I asked Aziz again whether the alleged false statement the subject-matter of the investigation was in the TV3 interview or the statutory declaration.
Aziz started raving and ranting about ‘giving and inch and now asking for a whole mile’.
I told him that we would go back to the hotel, discuss with RPK and inform Hamid as to RPK’s decision.
Back at the hotel just before 1am, Amarjit and I discussed the contents of the police report and advised RPK and Marina accordingly.
I called Hamid who passed the phone to Aziz.
I informed Aziz that RPK was ready to give his statement to the police and that we would be happy to meet him at the hotel in the morning at 11am.
“Erm, tak payahlah”, was his response.
The call ended.
Now RPK called and spoke to Aziz and reiterated what i had said earlier.
Same response, save and except that Aziz now blamed what was a most unproductive conclusion to his trip to Thailand to two good for nothing lawyers.
Strange that an officer of PDRM should travel all the way to Thailand to take a statement, not from the accused but a witness, and one willing to give the same, but now refused to do so unless the witness was willing to step into little Malaysia.
Was it a statement from the witness that was sought, or the presence of the witness on ‘Malaysian soil’ in Thailand?
Amarjit, Marina and I are convinced that this whole business of attending at the embassy to give his statement was a hare-brained scheme by idiots back home to lure RPK onto ‘Malaysian soil’ as a first step to repatriation back to Kamunting, whether through means foul or fair.
I half suspect that RPK, now, sees it too.