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Photographer handcuffed by police for taking flood pictures

Mr Wu Qing Shun, a photographer with the Chinese daily Lianhe Wanbao, was handcuffed by the police for taking flood pictures at Upper Bukit Timah road yesterday, 17 July. (See Omy's report here.) The daily reported that during the downpour yesterday, Mr Wu had “ rushed to the scene at about 7am in the morning to get a photo.”

The police stopped him when Mr Wu went up close to take better pictures of cars which were affected by the flood. Mr Wu asked if he “could take another photo politely, but the policeman simply took out his handcuffs and cuffed Mr Wu without another word.”

When Mr Wu tried to take a picture of the handcuffs on him, the police removed the cuffs at this point.

According to Asia One:

In response to this incident, police say that they were in the midst of clearing the road to restore accessibility and Mr Wu was obstructing their work.

According to the police statement, Mr Wu was trying to take photos in the middle of the road, which was dangerous, and he continued to take photos even after repeated warnings.

For the safety of Mr Wu and others, they had to handcuff him and move him to a safe area.

In your view, was this an abuse of authority by the police or were the police right in doing what they did with Mr Wu?

Also: Join TOC's Facebook page for more discussions.

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This is the translated report by Omy. [TOC thanks Mr Goh Meng Seng for helping us translate it.]

Senior head of photography of Lian He Wan Bao was handcuffed like a prisoner just for taking a photo!

The island wide early morning heavy downpour has caused several places to flood. Goh Keng Soon, the senior photographer of Lian He Wan Bao complained that he was handcuffed by the police when he was trying to take photographs of affected areas at Upper Bukit Timah Road. He was also restrained and not allowed to leave for 1 hour.

At 7am in the morning, Goh Keng Soon was trying to photograph the cars that were being washed up the road curb along the flooded Upper Bukit Timah Road. When he moved closer to take a better shot of one of the car which was trapped in the water, a police officer stopped him.

According to Goh Keng Soon, the police officer ask him to go away but he requested politely to take picture (of that car).

Unexpectedly, right after he finished, the police officer took out his handcuff and cuffed it on his right hand and told him that he will take him to the police station.

“I am not a criminal, why are you handcuffing me?” retorts Goh Keng Soon.

He said that when he tried to take out his handphone to record this moment, the police released him immediately but brought him to the road side in front of an apartment and told him not to leave.

“The police officer told me to wait for the Investigating Officer. In the end, I have to wait for 1 hour before I was allowed to leave,” said Goh Keng Soon.

Mark of handcuff remains after 5 hour. Head of photography feels humiliated.

Head of photography of Lian He Wan Bao feels humiliated while the mark of the handcuff on his right hand still remains after 5 hours.

Goh Keng Soon (57 years old) who have 30 years experience in the press expresses anger at the treatment he received this morning. He said he was surprised, angry as well as felt insulted when he was being handcuffed.

“I did not kill anyone neither did I break any law, why handcuff me?” he asked.

He explained that the police officer pulled the handcuff on his right hand to bring him to the road side and a deep red mark was left on his wrist even after the handcuff was released. “I feel like I am a criminal!”

I did not block the traffic nor preventing the police from carrying out their work.

Lian He Wan Bao photographic journalist did not block any traffic but he was handcuffed for trying to do his best in taking good photos.

According to Lian He Wan Bao head of photography Goh Keng Soon, he was taking photos on the road but he has ensured his own safety and did not block any road traffic before he moved forward to take the shots.

He said that the police officer who handcuffed him was sitting in the police car. It was only after the police officer saw him taking photos then he put on his rain coat and alight from the police car.
He reiterates that he was just trying his best to do his job. He felt the angle from the overhead bridge wasn’t good enough. That was why he moved forward to take a better shot from a better angle.

“I did not block any road traffic. The police officer walked up to me and I did not say anything more than two sentences but was handcuffed.”