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One Man's Meat

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Still hopeful despite fearing the worst

Pastor Koh and his wife Liew Sow Yoke.

Pastor Koh and his wife Liew Sow Yoke.

The daylight kidnapping of pastor Raymond Koh remains a mystery and there have been no new leads.

TODAY is the 19th day since pastor Raymond Koh Keng Joo (pic) was abducted and his son, Jonathan, is still trying to keep his emotions under control.

On Wednesday night, I met the introverted 32-year-old man at a shopping mall in Petaling Jaya.

“How have you been coping?” I asked.

“The first few days were rough. But I have been keeping my emotions in check for some conclusive evidence on what happened to my dad,” he said.

“If not, I will be in a state of limbo – not certain, not here and not there. I am just suppressing my emotions now.”

On Feb 13, the 62-year-old pastor was abducted by a group of masked men at Jalan SS4B/10, Petaling Jaya, less than 100m from the police housing complex.

According to Jonathan’s police report, Koh left his house around 10am and was on his way to a friend’s house in Kelana Jaya. Police found the number plate of the car he was driving on the road at the scene.

Koh’s family has raised the cash reward for information on his whereabouts from RM10,000 to RM100,000. So far, there has been no new lead to his disturbing abduction.

“What do you think happened to him?” I asked Jonathan.

“It looks like a kidnapping. Have you seen the footage?” he said.

“I have not. I’ll look at it later,” I said.

“It was unnecessary. He is an old man. It took more than 15 people to take him. You can just ask him to follow and he will gladly follow. He is that kind of person,” he said.

Jonathan described his father as a passionate person.

“He does one thing and he wants to do it well. He is a workaholic. He works, works, works,” he said.

“Why do you think your dad was kidnapped?” I said.

“It is because he speaks what he believes in and he shares his beliefs with people. He is not ashamed of what he believes in,” he said.

“What does he believe?” I said.

“He is a Christian. He practises without exception everything that is written in the Bible,” he said.

“What is your theory on why he was kidnapped?” I asked.

In 2011, Jonathan said, Koh lodged a police report that he had received a death threat.

The threat, which came with two bullets, happened after the Selangor Islamic Reli­gious Department raided a thanksgiving and fund-raising dinner organised by Harapan Komuniti at a church in Petaling Jaya.

In 2004, Koh set up Harapan Komu­niti to help single mothers, drug addicts and those with HIV/AIDS. The community centre in Petaling Jaya was also a place for children to learn English or do their homework.

“But that death threat was six years ago. What is its connection with your dad’s abduction?” I asked.

“We have been evading them. We have been moving around. We also received a lot of death threats on the Internet. We have people following us. This really shook my mum,” he said.

“According to the police, they (abductors) have been following my dad for a long time and the way they executed the abduction, they knew where he stayed and where he went.”

“But the death threat was six years ago. Why has the abduction happened now?” I asked.

“There is a lot of speculation,” he said and told me what had been found so far.

Two days after his father’s abduction, Jonathan, together with family and friends, did their own investigation. They felt helpless so they went to look for CCTV footage and put up missing person posters.

Subsequently, they found two CCTV recordings. When Jonathan saw the second CCTV recording, he realised that his dad’s abduction was “something beyond him”.

He showed me the recording on his smartphone. It was chilling. It was like a scene from a movie.

Here’s The Star’s report on Tuesday on how Koh was abducted.

“The recording obtained by the family showed a well-executed operation by masked men in seven vehicles, including two motorcycles.

It showed three black or dark-coloured vehicles forcing the Honda Accord that Koh was driving to a stop at Jalan SS4B/10 in Kelana Jaya. The vehicles boxed him in, with one stopping in front, another by the side and a third right behind him.

The men from the three vehicles dashed out and a split second later a sedan pulled up just behind the last car blocking Koh’s Honda.

Even before the sedan came to a complete halt, the front passenger door opened and a man dashed out and joined the melee.

The footage showed a commotion around Koh’s Honda before a fifth car stopped further behind and a man jumped out from the front passenger seat.

He immediately gestured for a Myvi, driven by a member of the public, to back off from the scene.

The Myvi was seen reversing some 50ft or more and a motorcyclist stopped in front of it.

The other motorcyclist was seen riding around as if to maintain perimeter around the scene of the abduction.

Then, all the cars, including Koh’s Honda, were seen speeding away.

The whole episode took less than a minute.”

Watching it, I felt vulnerable. If this can happen to the pastor, it can happen to me.

“What are you hoping or expecting?” I asked Jonathan.

“I have very low expectations,” he said.

“If he comes back, it is a huge bonus. My emotions are on hold for now.”

Tags / Keywords: Philip Golingai , columnist

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