9:50AM Feb 27, 2012
Adam Chew, a reporter from local Chinese daily Kwong Wah Jit Poh who was assaulted during a fracas during the Penang anti-Lynas rally yesterday, has sustained injuries to his right hand requiring eight stitches.
The rally was part of several nationwide protests by Himpunan Hijau 2.0 to condemn the Lynas plant in Kuantan for its potential radioactive hazards.
The Penang event at the Esplanade (Padang Kota Lama) was the only one disrupted by ‘pro-Lynas’ demonstrators who heckled the Himpunan supporters with slogans, vulgarities and physical disruption.
In the fracas that ensued, another Kwong Wah daily reporter on duty, Lee Hong Chun, was also hit with a helmet, but he only sustained light bruises on his head.
Chew (right), however, had to seek medical treatment at the Penang General Hospital emergency ward at about 8pm yesterday, after police dispersed the rally around 7pm.
When contacted last night, Chew said he was “fine” but experienced a slight headache as he claimed he was hit on his head by about six men from the pro-Lynas group.
He said he will visit the doctor again tomorrow as his eyes have what appears to be blood clots.
“I can’t work, and the doctor has given me medical leave and asked me to return to see him if I experience any dizziness,” he told Malaysiakini
‘Hurt while protecting CM’
Chew related how he got caught in the scuffle while on duty covering the 500-strong rally, part of a series that went on smoothly in other states like Kuala Lumpur, Perak and Kuantan.
“It happened when Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng was going down the stage after his speech, to join the protesters.
“The hostile crowd gathered, trying to harass him but his security personnel formed a human chain around him.
“But the hostile group managed to break the chain and I was in between (the two parties). I tried to stop them from getting to the CM,” said Chew (photo above, in green).
The group had taunted the anti-Lynas protestors even before the rally began, telling them to “go home to Kuantan” as it was not a Penang issue.
Despite the noise and disruption from the hostile group, the anti-Lynas protestors took it in their stride matching their hecklers’ chants and pressed on with the event.
‘Cina babi, Cina bodoh’
Chew claimed the hostile Lynas supporters scolded him and hurled racist remarks at him such as “Cina babi(Chinese pig)” and “Cina bodoh (stupid Chinese)” for supporting Lim as Penang CM.
He added that the group became angry when he chided them for reportedly using such racist innuendos.
“They grabbed my hand. One of them hit me with a helmet, and five others hit me on the head,” he said.
“All I did was try to prevent them from attacking the CM,” he added.
Last night Lim paid Chew a visit at the hospital, together with several DAP leaders and his press secretary.
When contacted, the CM said he felt touched by Chew’s gestures but was upset over what has happened to the journalist.
Lim condemned the alleged racist remarks used against the journalist, saying he will call a press conference to talk about the issue this morning.
“I have also told my press secretary Wong to monitor Chew closely. If he feels dizzy or unwell, he is to quickly get the latter to the hospital for examination,” he added.