Two foreigners ‘pawns’ in Bersih crackdown
Friday, July 01 @ 07:55:35 CDT
A Filipino politician and a South Korean student intern appear to be victims of a plot to demonise the Bersih 2.0 rally.
A Filipino politician and a South Korean student appear to have fallen victim to an elaborate plot to demonise the Bersih 2.0 rally on July 9.
Joining the dots is Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM), who had the duo join them as observers during the party’s roadshow in Johor last weekend.
The duo - Filipino Romeo Castillo (left), 56, and South Korean Song Min Young, 24 - were detained for questioning along with PSM activists on Saturday.
They were released the same day but Song was nabbed by the police on Monday, a day before Utusan Malaysia ran a front-page report claiming that she and Castillo were foreign agents out to cause trouble in Malaysia.
At the time of writing, Song has been held for four days without trial at the Bukit Jalil police station, while Castillo was nabbed yesterday.
At a press conference at the PSM headquarters in Kuala Lumpur today, PSM treasurer A Sivarajan said the nature of Castillo’s arrest is a cause for suspicion.
Castillo was nabbed at the LCCT while trying to board a 2.40pm flight to Manila.
‘Victim of elaborate charade’
Sivarajan said that a ticket for flight MH804 was purchased by the authorities to deport Castillo at 5.30pm, but he was not allowed to board this flight either.
He said that this has led PSM to conclude that the authorities were not investigating Castillo for immigration offences and were perhaps holding him for other reasons.
He was ready to depart twice. But at the last minute, there were instructions to keep him, said Sivarajan.
He speculated that they may be trying to extract a confession out of Castillo, who is currently held at the Sepang district police station.
Utusan Malaysia is trying to build a story (against the duo) and it seems the police are trying to justify those reports.
If Castillo was allowed to leave yesterday, the authorities would be left with no more enemies. To continue this charade, they need to keep him, he said.
Embassy: Repatriate Castillo
When contacted, Philippine Embassy consul-general Renato Villa confirmed that they have been contacted by the police to verify the authenticity of Castillo’s passport.
They said they are holding him because they found certain material related to the Bersih rally, said Villa.
Villa said that the embassy has confirmed the authenticity of the passport and have relayed a request to visit Castillo.
We have advised the police to repatriate Castillo as soon as possible, said Villa.
Castillo was in Malaysia for a month-long visit as part of an exchange programme with PSM, as he is a leader of a Filipino socialist party known as PLM.
Villa said that PLM has informed the Philippines foreign affairs department and human rights commission of Castillo’s predicament.
Meanwhile, PSM president Dr Nasir Hashim told reporters today that Castillo and Song were being used as scapegoats as part of the authorities’ crackdown on Bersih 2.0.
I think they are going to try to get them to confess and implicate (those associated with Bersih 2.0), he said.
He confirmed that PSM’s lawyer has met Castillo yesterday evening.
Attempts to contact the South Korean Consulate for comments have been futile, but it is understood that the consulate’s representative had met Song several times.
Song (left) is a Chonnam National University student and volunteer for the May 18 Memorial Foundation, a pro-democracy movement based in Gwangju.