There has been widespread public indignation over the action by Kajang police to shave bald 10 senior citizens caught playing mahjong on the second day of the Chinese New Year.The incident has sparked a probe to determine if police were abusing their power. It's not necessarily clear-cut, either, as it is apparently standard practice.
The 10 men claimed trial in a Kajang magistrate’s court yesterday to a charge of illegal gambling at a public place.
A 31-year-old coffeeshop owner, who was also shaved bald, pleaded not guilty to allowing the 10 to gamble at his Hulu Langat shop.
"I appeal to the Selangor chief police officer to see if the police officers had gone overboard and abused their power," he said at a press conference yesterday.Involuntary headshaving has been used for thousands of years as a way of humiliating others, and the outrage expressed by many people in Malaysia certainly seems justified.
"It is true that shaving a detainee's head is part of the procedure. But with the majority of the men detained being senior citizens, was it necessary?" he said.