Malaysia police hit by new claim of suspect abuse

(The China Post) – Malaysia's embattled police faced fresh accusations of abusing detainees Sunday after a suspect was hospitalized in intensive care for allegedly drinking paint thinner in custody.

Authorities claim Anwar Mansor, a 23-year-old man arrested on suspicion of marijuana possession, grabbed a bottle of thinner while being questioned Wednesday and drank it before officers could stop him in a central Selangor state police station.

Anwar's family and opposition politicians demanded an independent investigation, insisting Anwar had unexplained bruises and that the police version of the incident seemed dubious.

"The police can arrest someone … but something like this should not happen," said S. Manikavasagam, a state opposition legislator.

Mohamad Mat Yusop, a district police chief in Selangor, said police have classified the incident as attempted suicide and that Anwar's bruises might have been caused by a scuffle during his arrest.

The case came less than three months after a public uproar over the death of detainee Ananthan Kugan, who was arrested on suspicion of car theft and died in custody in Selangor in January. His family's lawyers said an autopsy commissioned by them revealed he was tortured and beaten to death.

Government authorities are still investigating Kugan's death.

Allegations of police brutality have received wider public attention after Kugan's case sparked public protests. Activists say more than 80 detainees — mainly from the ethnic Indian minority — have died under questionable circumstances in the past decade, but prosecutions are rare.