Police officers arrested for harassing, blackmailing colleagues

Thursday, January 15, 2009
Issue 586, Page 1
Word count: 714
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

The Judiciary Police (PJ) yesterday arrested four local residents including a PJ criminal investigator and two public security officers who allegedly harassed and blackmailed their colleagues by telephone for over a thousand times since July last year due to work dispute.

The PJ also discovered a significant number of airsoft guns, stun guns, two bullets and also plastic and iron pellets at two of the suspects’ homes.

According to the chief of the Criminal Investigation Department, Chau Wai Kuong, the four men, aged between 27 and 31, were childhood friends or former co-workers.

Chan, a criminal investigator, joined the public security force in 1997 and then shifted to work at the PJ where he has been since 2007.

Kou and Ao, two public security officers, were at the position since 2008 and 2003 respectively.

The last suspect, surnamed Shuen, was a dealer from a casino in Macau’s central area.

On September 30 last year, Mr Chau said four of his subordinates reported that they kept being harassed by receiving calls from their work phones all day especially at night, but the callers did not say anything or make any noise.

Until late December, the PJ found one of their investigators was involved, and also found that two public security officers had participated in the harassment of not only the four PJ investigators but at least four of their own seniors in the same department.

Mr Chau said his PJ subordinates started receiving the calls in July last year and got about 30 to 50 calls every day especially at midnight.

During the past six months, Mr Chau said each of the four PJ investigators had received at least a total of more than 1,000 “silent calls”, since due to work reasons they always had to have their work phones switched on.

As for the four senior officers from the public security force, Mr Chau said they also received about 500 to 600 “silent calls”.

At the same time, the PJ knew of three residents, who used to be friends or ex-colleagues of the second suspect Ko, had also been harassed by telephone as “sometime ago they had had some ‘small arguments’ with the suspect”, Mr Chau added.

Yesterday morning the PJ raided the homes and workplaces of the four suspects in the Inner Harbour, Rua Central, the Ocean Gardens and a casino in Macau’s central district.

Inside the home of suspect Ko in the Inner Harbour, Mr Chau said about 10 airsoft guns, stun guns, iron and plastic pellets, two bullets as well as the mobile phone and SIM card allegedly used to harass the 11 victims were seized.

Ko told police the phone numbers of the four PJ investigators were given by the first suspect Chan, because “Chan was dissatisfied with some work arrangements or had argued with his colleagues before”.

However, Ko said the arms and pellets were for playing war games, although Mr Chau said the PJ believed they were used to “assault people or smash cars’ windows”.

On December 31, 2008 and January 1, 2009, Mr Chau said the victims were also blackmailed, and received text messages in foul languages or that read “wish your whole family dies this year”.

Mr Chau said Ko had confessed to police about the telephone harassment.

In addition, the PJ found the suspects had also damaged two retail shops’ keyholes by filling them with glue and constantly scratched a car or smashed its windows “all because of having previous dispute with the shop and car owners”.

Mr Chau said the behaviours of the suspects were only motivated by a desire to “take revenge by making the victims suffer from physical and psychological harm”.

According to the law, Mr Chau said keeping airsoft guns with over two joules is deemed as an illegal possession.

As Ko was not a criminal investigator, Mr Chau said he could not be assigned a gun and thus the PJ believed the two bullets found were stolen from the police force.

The four suspects will be sent to the Public Prosecutions Office today.

If convicted, they will face up to 15 years in jail and the three police officers will also face an additional aggravated penalty of one thirds of the sentence due to their duties as public servants.

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