Police shootout yields clue to Pastor Koh's abduction

KUALA LUMPUR: A police shootout that led to the death of a suspected arms and drugs smuggler in Kedah has shed new light on the abduction of Pastor Raymond Koh.

A raid on the suspect’s house after the shootout found pictures of a house that is believed to be the home of the pastor, according to Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar (pic).

Police from the Serious Crimes Unit (D9) and Special Task Force On Organised Crime (Stafoc) were involved in a shootout with a suspect near Kampung Weng, Baling, Kedah on June 17.

“We were forced to shoot the suspect dead, after which we seized drugs, a 9mm pistol and bullets, as well as two sets of car licence plates and various documents.

“Investigations revealed the suspect, in his 40s, was the main player in an arms, drugs and human trafficking syndicate operating at the Malaysian-Thailand border,” he told reporters after attending the Bukit Aman Hari Raya open house on Sunday.

He said police have been tracking the syndicate’s movements since late last year.

“When we raided the house of the suspect in Pengkalan Hulu, Perak, we arrested his wife and seized more drugs, believed to be syabu, as well as a cache of ammunition of various calibre, and a pipe bomb.

“We also seized various pictures, including one of a house in Prima 16 which is believed to be the house of the missing pastor.

“There were also pictures of two vehicles believed to be owned by the pastor, and licence plates bearing the number ST5515D,” he said.

Koh was abducted by a group of masked men at Jalan SS4B/10, less than 100 metres from the Police Housing Complex in Kelana Jaya, on Feb 13.

He was driving a silver Honda Accord bearing the licence plate ST5515D to a friend’s house in Kelana Jaya when he was abducted.

CCTV footage showed that at least 10 men and seven vehicles were involved in the abduction.

Khalid said that after the Baling shootout, police also arrested three other suspects in followup operations in Kota Baru, Kuala Kangsar and Kuantan.

He said the suspects, aged between 30 and 60 years old, were believed to be involved in the same syndicate.

“They all have prior records for drugs and arms cases and have been brought back to Kuala Lumpur to help in our investigations.

“We will not be able to answer more until we interrogate the suspects, but based on this latest development, we believe the syndicate is somehow connected to the abduction of the pastor," he said, adding that the suspects had Malaysian and Thai citizenships.

This story has been amended after a clarification.

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