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Police Altercation With Motorcyclist Sparks Public Concern

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Almost 150,000 people viewed a video posted on Facebook yesterday of a policeman striking an errant motorcyclist, within two hours of it being uploaded.

The video, appearing to have been shot by a witness, captured three police officers encircling a motorcyclist who had been travelling the wrong way down a one-way street.

The incident, which was posted to social media on Wednesday, occurred on Setthathirath Road near the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism.

On the footage, the driver appears reluctant to hand over his bike to the officers, after which things become animated and one of the officers makes an aggressive gesture towards the offending motorcyclist before striking him.

Members of the public complained about the conduct of the officer in question and asked whether it was necessary to strike the motorcyclist like that in full public view.

Some people said that while he was in violation of the regulations by driving in the wrong direction along a one-way street this was not sufficient justification to hit the man.

One unnamed traffic official said that officers suspected the motorcycle may have been stolen because when the police blew their whistles, the rider did not stop but continued on his way.

Police are still investigating the matter, he added.

Based on the advice of a lawyer from the Lao Bar Association, it is against the regulations for the police to strike a motorist alongside a road. The lawyer said that if police suspect that a motorcycle is stolen, they should impound the bike in order to check it, including inviting the owner to provide proof of purchase and any related documents.

Source: Vientiane Times