Friday, 9 September 2011

British Massacre - Batang Kali Victims win UK court scrutiny





Kin of Batang Kali massacre victims win UK court scrutiny  

  


KUALA LUMPUR: Family members of 24 unarmed Malaysian ethnic Chinese workers, allegedly shot dead by British troops in a massacre more than six decades ago, won a significant court battle in Britain that will give hope that the incident will be formally investigated, their lawyers said Thursday.

The British High court ruled on Aug 31 in favour of the family members for a review of a decision by the British government to refuse to investigate the massacre, in which the unarmed rubber plantation workers in Batang Kali, a remote town in Selangor state, were killed after being accused as terrorists trying to escape during the Malayan Emergency.



The court granted the judicial review as it deemed the case "raises arguable issues of importance", reported China's news agency Xinhua.

The lawyers said a full hearing would begin in early 2012.

"After decades of seeking redress for the Batang Kali massacre victims, we can now, finally, see the light of justice at the end of the tunnel," said lawyer Quek Ngee Meng, representing a victim's family.

"We do not expect the British government to reverse its stance, but it should immediately and unconditionally release all documents relating to the massacre and the aborted attempt to investigate in the past so the court that hears this case, and the public, have a complete picture," he told reporters at a press conference attended by six surviving kin of the victims, lawmakers and dozens of activists and representatives of ethnic Chinese groups. - Bernama


Malaysian Batang Kali massacre kin wins UK court scrutiny

KUALA LUMPUR, September 8 (Xinhua) -- Family members of the 24 unarmed Malaysian ethnic Chinese workers allegedly shot dead by the British troops in a massacre more than six decades ago won a significant court battle in britain that would give hope the massacre would be formally investigated, their lawyers said on Thursday.

The British High court ruled on August 31 in favour of the family members for a review to a decision by the British government refusing to investigate the massacre, where the  unarmed rubber plantation workers in Batang Kali, a remote town in Malaysia's Selangor state were killed after being accused as terrorists trying to escape during the Malayan Emergency.

The court granted the judicial review as it deemed the case " raises arguable issues of importance." The lawyers said a full hearing would begin in Spring 2012.

It will examine whether the British Secretaries of State for Defense and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Secretaries of State) acted lawfully when they refused to hold a public inquiry into both the killings and their coverup, and to make any form of reparation to the victims' families.



"After decades of seeking redress for the Batang Kali massacre 's victims we can now, finally, see the light of justice at the end of the tunnel," lawyer representing the victim's family, Quek Ngee Meng said.

"We do not expect the British government to reverse its stance, but it should immediately and unconditionally release all documents relating to the massacre and the aborted attempt to investigate in the past so the court that hears this case, and the public, have a complete picture," he told reporters at a press conference attended by six surviving kin of the victims, lawmakers and dozens of activists and representatives of ethnic Chinese groups.

The 24 ethnic Chinese were shot dead by the British Scots Guards in 1948, when the then-Malaya was under British colonial rule.

They were accused of being sympathizers of the communists and said to be trying to escape during the Malayan Emergency -- a guerilla war fought between the Commonwealth armed forces and the Malayan communist group.

The victims' lawyers said the British government refused to correct the records even as evidence suggested all 24 victims were innocent.

After numerous appeals to both the British and the Malaysian governments for a probe into the massacre were turned down, citing lack of evidence, family members of the victims took the case to the British court.

"For the first time after six decades, I feel a sense of closure," said Loh Ah Choy, whose uncle was killed before his eyes when he was nine.

"He was my only uncle and he deserves justice," the 70-year-old told Xinhua.

Relatives of Batang Kali massacre victims nearer to seeking justice

By MARTIN CARVALHO mart3@thestar.com.my

KUALA LUMPUR: After almost 18 years of tough challenges and extreme obstacles, relatives of the Batang Kali massacre are finally making headway in seeking justice over the killing of 24 villagers by British soldiers in 1948.

MCA Public Complaints Bureau chairman Datuk Michael Chong said the United Kingdom Legal Service Commission had granted the families financial aid to pursue their case. An appeal for aid was rejected in November.

“I am very happy. We nearly gave up as cold water was poured on us several times over the years,” he told The Star here yesterday.

“Finally, families of the victims are able to see some light to help them seek justice.”

Chong, who played a crucial role in initiating the call for a judicial review in 1993 over the Malayan Emergency massacre, said the aid came as great relief to the families.

The four claimants, Wooi Kum Thai, Loh Ah Choi, Lim Kok and Chong Hyok Keyu, faced RM480,000 in legal fees (not including RM525,000 in future cost) when their request for legal aid was turned down.

However, the commission’s Special Cost Control Review Panel allowed their appeal on April 15 and with this, the four can proceed with their case at the British courts.

Action Committee Condemning the Batang Kali Massacre coordinator Quek Ngee Meng said the panel granted the appeal as it was of the view that the claimants had a 50% to 60% chance of succeeding in their case, which is of wider public significance.

“They can now, with more certainty, resort to legal avenues to the fullest so that the truth behind the massacre can be uncovered and that the historical wrong corrected,” Quek said in a press statement issued here.

On Dec 12, 1948, in a military operation against the communist insurgents, a group of British soldiers allegedly shot dead the 24 villagers in a rubber estate near Batang Kali before setting their village on fire.

In March last year, families of the victims and several non-governmental organisations formed the action committee.

The committee submitted a petition to the British High Commission calling for an official apology, compensation for the victims’ families, and financial contribution towards the educational and cultural development of the Ulu Yam community.

Relate post:

British Massacre - Batang Kali Survivors and kin seek inquiry and damages  

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