I remember reading a news report some time ago about a group of Indian
nationals being harassed by policemen. In the course of the raid, travel papers
were defaced. It turned out later that these IT workers had valid working
passes, and their travel documents were in fact genuine.
The embarrassing incident resulted in a national scandal, quickly followed by a recommendation (or was it a ruling) that only immigration officers be authorised to conduct such raids. The reason given was because Immigration were more knowledgeable than the police in identifying travel papers and passports.
What happened to that sound suggestion? What business is it of low-ranking constables to check travel documents? What expertise do they possess in making decisions on their validity?
The recent report on the alleged abuse of Chinese nationals, so soon after the 'anti-rasuah' campaign, seems to indicate that we are dealing with a force that may spin out of control. It's frightening to fathom, but it could well happen if certain preventive steps are not taken.
To prevent further abuse of power, may I suggest the following:
- Plainclothes police officers not be allowed to demand for identification
cards or papers at any time for any reason.
- Spot checks on identification papers and cards be done properly, not as and
when officers feel like it.
- Only the proper immigration officers be allowed to handle foreign workers.
I'm sure there are others who can think up other reasons.
By the way, may I ask if plainclothes policemen are also duty bound to wear 'anti-rasuah' badges? If not, what exempts them? And if they are indeed not required to wear the badges, what's the point of the entire anti-corruption exercise?