Authorities yesterday denied allegations of police abuse in a case on Monday, when a 13-year-old girl was forced to get in a police van after she failed to present an identity card.
The Public Security Police (PSP) issued a statement claiming that “a young girl who couldn’t speak Chinese” was intercepted during an inspection at Praça de Ferreira do Amaral.
Since she was not carrying her identification card, “the police officer took her to the 12-seat van and asked her to sit near the door, with nobody seated besides her,” the statement reads.
According to the statement, while the young girl – who is a Macau resident with Portuguese nationality – was in the van, the police officer did not touch her and communicated with her in English, allowing her to use a mobile phone to talk with relatives.
“After around 15 minutes the young girl’s mother arrived to the place and showed anxious and distressed behavior. The police officer explained to her that the ID checks are routine operations. […]During the waiting time, the young girl remained calm, hence what was mentioned in the Internet and in the press – that she cried in panic – is not true. She only cried after the mother arrived. Once the young girl and the mother’s IDs were verified, the young girl was immediately delivered to her mother,” the police statement reads.
The police’s version differs from the victim’s mother, Julene Goitia Soares, who claims that her daughter was traumatized after being stuck in the van with several detainees.
According to Soares, her daughter started crying after the officers forced her to get in the van, despite the minor explaining to them that she is a Macau resident who did not have her BIR at the time.
“She called my husband […] and while she was explaining, the police just grabbed her arms and just put her inside the police van,” she told the Times earlier.
Soares also claimed that the policemen started laughing at the minor after she started to cry. She has filed a complaint to the police authorities. PB
Mother: ‘they didn’t protect an underage girl’
Julene Goitia Soares reacted yesterday to the police statement: “First thing they did wrong was not asking the parents’ number and call us to explain, second there were no policewomen beside her. Everyone can see in the photo that the only police in the van is a policeman. So disappointed… so angry, they didn’t protect an underage girl,” she told the Times.