Nine Detained Over Alleged Conversion at UPM

Two Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) students and seven friends, including six from Hong Kong, were detained by police for almost 20 hours following police reports alleging they had attempted to spread Christianity to Muslim undergraduates at the campus in Serdang.

It is learnt that the UPM students were visited by the foreigners and a local woman late on Wednesday at the university grounds and later proceeded to the canteen near their hostel at about 9pm.

Sepang police chief ACP Zahedi Ayub said today the group, made up of five men and four women aged between 19 and 24, began distributing pamphlets and leaflets which contained material on Christianity.

He said investigations showed that although the group had only intended to hand out the material which was in Chinese and English to Christians, the foreigners had mistaken all of those in the canteen as one.

He said several Muslim students reported the matter to the university's security officials who then rounded up the group and took them to the Sepang district police headquarters at about midnight.  The Muslim students also lodged police reports.

Zahedi said the students were detained at the station for investigations but were not held in a lock-up.

"We interviewed them and found out the whole incident was a misunderstanding. There was no intention by the group to spread Christian teachings except to Christians. The foreigners in the group could not differenciate who was who or belonged to which religion. We held them and also took them back to UPM to verify what happened. We are releasing them as no offence has been committed," he said.

The group's lawyer Annou Xavier said the nine people were released by police at about 5pm. He said one of them will lodge a police reports over the incident.

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