Lawyer who hit client claims self-defence

PETALING JAYA, Malaysia - A video clip of a house buyer being pushed and kicked by a lawyer has gone viral - but the purported attacker says he did it in self-defence after being provoked.

Lawyer Tan Hui Chuan, who was a Selayang municipal councillor until recently, said the house buyer had uttered "hurtful and disrespectful words".

"I just wanted him to get away from me because he was provoking me, so I pushed him. But I did not punch, scratch or slap him. Yes, I kicked him. But I did not kick to injure him. It was a soft kick,'' he said when contacted yesterday.

The nine-minute video clip shows two men arguing in the presence of three others in an empty house.

At one point, one of the men, who is apparently infuriated, pushes the other man and kicks him once.

He shoves him several times later.

The footage, recorded by a woman who came with the house buyer, was posted on YouTube on June 21, two days after the alleged incident.

The house buyer claimed he was upset that the lawyer "forced" him to sign some documents without giving him time to verify them first.

However, the lawyer said he merely asked his client to sign the acknowledgment of receipt of several documents that had been tendered to the bank.

"It was neither an agreement nor a contract as all transactions had been completed a week earlier. The client has already taken possession of the property,'' he said.

Tan said his client went to his firm several days later and signed the acknowledgement of receipt.

"And the video was released after that,'' he said.

The lawyer felt that the house buyer had tarnished his reputation by releasing the video.

Bar Council president Lim Chee Wee said victims of physical assault could sue for damages, adding that the house buyer could lodge a police report as well.

"No amount of provocation should attract (any form of) physical assault,'' he said.

He also said that in cases of misconduct involving lawyers, the people could lodge a complaint with the council's disciplinary board.

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