GEORGE TOWN: Police detained two men last night to assist investigations into acts of vandalism against road signs in the inner city, here, where Chinese characters were sprayed over with black paint.
The duo were taken into custody when they went to the police station for questioning.
Northeast police chief Assistant Commissioner Soffian Santong confirmed the duo’s arrests, but said they were released on police bail after having their statements taken.
“We hope to wrap up investigations soon before referring the investigation papers to the deputy public prosecutor for the next course of action,” he said.
On Monday, the Penang Island City Council (MBPP) lodged a police report on acts of vandalism on road signs at Gat Lebuh Armenian and Weld Quay here, where Chinese characters were sprayed over with black paint.
The acts of vandalism were recorded and uploaded to social media.
A four-minute video of the incident, which has gone viral, showed a man with a can of black spray paint defacing the road signs.
He was seen accompanied by at least two other persons. They were believed to be Malay rights activists.
The man holding the can of paint could be heard saying: “We are just following the Constitution. We are Malaysians. We are not Chinese nationals. I am sorry. If you want, you can catch me.
“We are living in Malaysia. Don’t be racist”.
His friend could also be heard saying: “This should serve as a lesson to the state government for purposely bringing disharmony to the people.”
MBPP had expressed its utmost regret over the incident and said it viewed the matter seriously.
Even Penang Gerakan had lodged a police report over the acts of vandalism, urging police to investigate the wrong-doers, while calling on the people to remain calm over the issue.
The case is being investigated under sections 427 and 505(c) of the Penal Code, and Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.
In 2008, a minor controversy erupted when the state decided to use multilingual road signs.
There was also a report of vandalism then, but the state defended its decision.