Why are the public, bus drivers treated differently?

A sharp letter by Mr Chew Mun Kit …

IN THE face of increasing assaults on bus drivers, police have said that such attacks will not be tolerated.

Those who assault bus drivers will be prosecuted under Section 323 of the Penal Code and police investigations were initiated in all cases, except when the drivers themselves did not want to pursue the matter.

I read a few letters in the Forum in April, also referring to the above legislation. The letters are ‘Punched and hit but police won’t be taking action’ (ST, April 4), ‘When is an offence seizable?’ (ST, April 6) and ‘Why that advice to lodge magistrate’s complaint’ (ST, April 14).

The letters started with a Ms Kong Lai Meng who had been assaulted asking why the police did not go on to detain the suspect, and ended with a reply from the police force.

From the letters, it seems that a complaint has to be lodged with a magistrate before police can initiate action. In cases where grievous hurt was caused or weapons were used, offenders would be charged under Section 325 or 324 instead.

This being the case, how could the police say beforehand that they will initiate investigations and charge offenders under Section 323? Surely, more information is required before the police can take action.

Unless there is a fundamental difference between a bus driver and a regular guy on the street, police should take the same stand. It seems that bus drivers can opt out of police investigations whereas common citizens have to opt in by filing a report with a magistrate.

Chew Mun Kit

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