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Durban - A Chinese businessman has claimed that an angry KwaDukuza traffic officer allegedly pepper-sprayed him after he asked a motorist who was parked in front of his supermarket to move so that a truck could off-load goods.
The officer’s woman partner then allegedly pointed a firearm at him, said Feng Hui Lin, who has laid charges of assault and pointing of a firearm against the officers.
He claimed he was locked up for four hours in a “container” at the traffic police department’s yard last Tuesday.
The 34-year-old owner of the “5 Cents” supermarket in the North Coast town’s King Shaka Street, has also reported his alleged ordeal to the Chinese consulate.
Speaking to the Daily News outside the consulate offices in Durban North, Lin said he was shocked at the way the South African police treated foreigners, claiming he was discriminated against because of his nationality.
Explaining last week’s events, he said the motorist had agreed to move his car from outside his shop when the police intervened.
The two KwaDukuza traffic officers told the motorist to ignore him, he said, adding that as the driver was reversing, he bumped into him.
“I asked an apologetic driver to watch where he was driving. Suddenly, an officer pulled out from nowhere and shouted to me, ‘This is not China.’
“He grabbed me by the collar while swearing at me. He pepper sprayed me so bad I could not see a thing,” he said.
“I tried to wipe it using my hand, but it got worse. I went inside the shop with an aim to wash my eyes,” he said.
Lin said when he bent over the washbasin, his firearm that was tucked into his waistband became visible, prompting the female officer to pull out a rifle, which she allegedly pointed at his face.
“I was humiliated in front of my wife, staff, and customers,” he said. Another businessman tried to intervene, but the cops would hear none of it.”
Lin said more police arrived and tackled him. He was allegedly handcuffed and thrown into the police car. When he asked an officer why he was being arrested, he was told it was for pulling out a firearm.
“Instead of locking me up at a nearby SAPS station, I was kept for four hours at a container in the traffic police department yard,” said Lin.
“I felt discriminated (against) because of my nationality,” he said. “The consulate (official) told me that she will report the matter in Pretoria on her next visit.”
Lin said he had seen a doctor after his ordeal.
A former Stanger councillor, Rabi Singh, who runs a nearby shop, said he had witnessed the incident and tried to intervene. He said he was also threatened with arrest.
“I asked why they were abusing the man. They asked me what I was going to do… I went to my shop and tried to call the KwaDukuza mayor (Ricardo Mthembu), but was told he had a meeting,” he said.
Singh said he felt sorry for Lin, who he described as a humble man.
SAPS spokesman Captain Thulani Zwane confirmed a charge of pointing a firearm had been laid against the traffic officer at the KwaDukuza police station. There was no record of an assault charge.
He said investigations were continuing.
KwaDukuza municipality spokesman, Sifiso Zulu, on Monday said no complaint had been lodged with the municipality, but the council would issue a statement once the SAPS investigation had been concluded.