The Porcupine and the Senior Police Officer

Commentary on the incident of the shooting of a RISDA officer whom a senior police officer mistook for a porcupine.

A totally unrelated photo of a porcupine fashion show (Source: nationalgeographic.com)

A totally unrelated photo of a porcupine fashion show (Source: nationalgeographic.com)

There was a curious report in the New Straits Times on 21 September 2010.

The gist of it is that a group of 9 porcupine hunters split into groups of 3 each. Ahmad Fadzillah, a senior police officer, who was using a shotgun to hunt porcupines was in one group. His unintended victim, Abdul Ghani Midon, who is attached to RISDA (Rubber Industry Smallholders Development Authority) was in another group. The report describes the incident:

At 5.10pm the same day, he said Ahmad Fadzillah and his team saw movements in the forest and thinking that it was their prey, he took a shot at it.

….

Instead, the shot hit above the left eye of Abdul Ghani Midon, 49, who is attached with Risda here.

Thankfully Abdul Ghani is still alive after the incident, after an 8 hour surgery. Pahang deputy police chief Datuk Sharifuddin Mohd Ghani remarked that Ahmad Fadzillah will be investigated pursuant to section 39 of the Arms Act 1960 (it was incorrectly reported as the “Firearms Act 1960” which does not exist) for possible negligence, notwithstanding that he had a hunting permit and license for the shotgun.

There are three items that merit comment out of this incident.

Firstly, why do you need a shotgun to hunt porcupines? These are not elephants, rhinos, buffaloes or lions that require such massive fire power to subdue. The African Wild Life Foundation’s website states that the porcupine are seen as one of the “Small Five” for hunting along with the aardvark, ratel, pangolin, and the naked mole-rat. And according to them, they are hunted using “using dogs, spears or nets, or smoked out of their burrows.” Sure a shotgun could be used to hunt small game but what challenge or game is there in killing such a small animal with such an awesome weapon?

Secondly, it is not clear from the report what type of porcupines we are talking about here. It is important because a very recent study by the University of East Anglia indicates that the porcupine Hystrix brachyura, which is natural to our country, is facing a massive drop in numbers because of overhunting. Granted the studies took place mainly in Vietnam but this should serve as reminder to consider our own hunting of the porcupine. Naturally the reporter for New Straits Times has no initiative whatsoever to look into our local porcupine population, so we know nothing about the situation locally.

Thirdly, Abdul Ghani was shot above the eye. Ahmad Fadzillah let off a shot because he saw movement in the forest. Without even calling out to check he fired. Without even going a little closer to confirm his target he fired off his shotgun. What the hell kind of hunting is this, shoot whatever that moves? I should think there is a prima facie case of negligence right there. Porcupines as I understand it are not able to fly. I am also aware they do not know kung-fu techniques that allow them to fly through the air. Therefore any shots fired at them should aimed towards the ground. Except for a ricochet it is near impossible that the shot pellets should fly so high for so far.

However, what this sorry incident does is provide another confirmation of our police culture of shooting first and explaining later. Datuk Sharifuddin said that Ahmad Fadzillah would be allowed to resume his duty as the shooting occurred during a hunting trip because he believes “it is not criminally-related.” I think that is a poor way of looking at it. The question is not whether Ahmad Fadzillah is a criminal but whether he is competent.

And finally, the incompetent reporter forgets to state just how many porcupines that that group of 9 successfully hunted that day.

LB: Fahri Azzat was a Tyrannosaurus Rex named “Bob” in his previous life during the tail end of the Cretaceous period and was reincarnated as a 21st century LoyarBurokker despite being imbued with the character and abilities of a late 19th century dilettante dandy. His current ambition right this very moment is to wear a top hat and coat tails while shopping for fake luxury watches at Petaling Street on a hot day.

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Fahri Azzat practices the dark arts of the law. Although he enjoys writing and reading, he doesn't enjoy writing his own little biographies of himself. Like this one. He wished somebody else would do it for him. He has little taste in writing about himself in third person. He feels weird doing it. But the part he finds most tedious is having to pad up the lack of his accomplishments, or share some interesting facts about his rather uneventful life, as if there were some who found that oh-so-interesting; as if he were some famous person, like Michael Jackson. When he writes these biographies, the thought, 'Wei, Jangan Perasaan- ah!' lights up in his head. So he usually just lists what he got involved with, positions he held and blah, blah. But this time. Right here. Right this very moment. Uhuh. This one. This one right here. He's finally telling it like it is.

Posted on 23 September 2010. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0.

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12 Responses to The Porcupine and the Senior Police Officer

  1. Jho Lock

    The main target wasn’t porcupine! According to a wildlife expert, these stooges were illegally hunting the endangered tiger. One carcass of tiger could fetch RM25K! In the end, the “King of Poachers” would fetch >RM100K from it!

  2. Fu Qihua

    There have been many reports about hunters being shot at by their collegues mistakenly for wild boar and what not. Being a high ranking police officer I am sure he would have come across such cases. So you tell me how can he shoot at something that moved?

  3. Somehow this story appears to have escaped from the 18th or 19th century, except for the shotgun. Does it indicate that there has been no cultural, mental or moral development in the last couple of hundred years? A classic case of tempurungism. Civil servants do not get the sack, they simply get reassigned another desk.

  4. boogieman

    What a poor way of hiding the illegal act,

    1st LIE… Shotgun to kill a porcupine.

    2nd LIE… Shotgun which pointing on the ground hit ABOVE the eye !!??

    3rd LIE… 9 ppl hunting porcupine ??? Poor porcupine may goes extinct.

    They think we got no brain la… Me think the hunting endangered animals and tried to hide the facts when shit happen.

  5. tthe original shoote

    I wonder whether Kugan was mistaken as a deer. And Aminulrasyid was mistaken as a hen.

    Oooh…I think MACC could have mistaken Teoh as a magpie.

  6. James

    You are right, Fahri. Dick Cheney mistook his 78 year old friend for a quail and shot him with pellets in the face, neck and chest. He also used the excuse of Iraq hoarding weapons of mass destruction and bombed the crap out of the entire country. So really, if you are looking for something to shoot, something will get shot. Whether it's a porcupine or some innocent bystander at the wrong place at the wrong time.

  7. teo siew chin

    methinks it's wild kerbau-pendek they were hunting lah…. usually shotguns are used for such hunts.

    and it is shoot first once rustling is heard in the undergrowth cos if not, the boar will charge head-on! anyways it is instinctive to shoot first – though mind you, no one has yet to hear of a hunter being headbutted by a boar!

    But stories of hunters looking like the 'boar' being hunted are common… the jungle is 'spirited' ^_^

  8. maverick

    malaysia has strange benchmarks. a senior police office who ignores (as per "ignorant") basic protocol for the use of firearms can still continue to be on duty after he shoots another person. there are numerous other examples in other instances.

  9. ladymissazira

    *from unscrupulous… typo

  10. ladymissazira

    Save the porcupines! Protect them unscrupulous game hunters! You hunt game not for food but for sport, that's animal cruelty!

  11. Ong Jo-Lene

    landak sering berehat di dahan pokok, oleh itu anda dinasihatkan jangan stail-kan rambut macam durian untuk mengelakkan sebarang keliruan. gunakan gel rambut dengan was-was.