COMMENT Two weeks ago, the media was invited by the Selangor police to witness its anti-vice, gambling and secret societies unit in action.

Media personnel gathered at the Puchong Jaya police station that night and were given a short briefing by the enforcement team.

The team leader then told his 20-strong team that the police rarely bring the media along during a raid, reminding his subordinates to behave and not to embarrass themselves.

He also reminded his men not to smoke cigarettes or behave aggressively during their raid. Just before the briefing ended, the leader said: "I don't like the media following us either."

This remark didn't really bother me, but I did find it rather baffling at the time.

Later, we arrived at the gates of a suspected vice-den and the police went through a considerable effort to break down the door.

Personal gratification

What followed were some rather "lively" scenes caused by the media personnel present.

While the police did not abuse their power, some media personnel did. They used their cameras and cell phones to take photographs of suspected sex workers for their personal gratification.

Many suspected sex workers did not have enough time to dress, and were forced to stand naked in front of the trigger-happy press photographers. The police did not interfere.

sex worker prostitute police raid 010812 oriental dailySome suspected sex workers were shocked by the sudden appearance of the police personnel and the media horde, causing them to grab their clothes to cover their bodies.

One senior male media personnel appeared extremely excited when he saw a naked woman in front of him. While training his camera on the woman, he scolded her in Malay: "Who asked you to cover (your body)?"

The woman tried in vain to locate a private nook to dress herself, but the photographer tailed her until a police personnel said: "Forget it. Let her dress up."

The media man slowly made his way out of the room, but stopped in front of a curtained cubicle to take photographs of another woman putting on her clothes.

After the suspected sex workers had put on their clothes, they were taken to the lobby of the establishment.

Female journalists too join the fun

One suspected sex worker wore a short dress and in her haste, did not put on any underwear. As she sat down, several photographers and videographers noticed her exposed private part and quickly trained their cameras on her.

When the victim realised what was going on, she rushed back to a room to put on an underwear.

Meanwhile, several female journalists were having a ball posing for photographs in front of the suspected sex workers.

The incident clearly illustrate how some media personnel had violated their journalistic ethics.

It is no surprised that Bukit Aman Anti-Vice, Gambling and Secret Societies Division director Abdul Jalil Hassan once said that the media often enjoyed such assignments.

This reminded me of the police officer who had earlier ordered his subordinates to take care of their image during the raid.

But that night, the members of the media were the ones who embarrassed themselves.

LOH IEE WEN is a crime desk reporter with Oriental Daily News. The above article appeared in Oriental Daily News on July 30, and is reproduced with permission.- Malaysiakini, 1/8/2012, Photographers have a ball at anti-vice raid

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