‘We are unable to stop villagers from looking for runner’


SUNGAI SIPUT: The police are unable to stop the public from entering the search area to look for missing ultra marathon runner Mohd Ashraf Hassan despite a request from his family.

Perak police chief Comm Datuk Razarudin Husain said it was impossible to stop the people as there were many alternative routes into the area near Kampung Pintu Padang in Gopeng.

“We can only advise the public to inform us before they go in to look for the missing runner.

“They can help with the search but it also depends on the time and weather conditions.

“Our hope is the same. We want to find him as soon as possible,” he said after witnessing the handing over of duties between outgoing Sungai Siput OCPD Supt Rozeni Ismail to his successor Supt Mohd Khaizam Ahmad Shahabudin here yesterday.

Comm Razarudin was asked to comment on a police report lodged by Mohd Ashraf’s elder brother Mohd Azlan, who wanted the police to stop the public from entering the search area, as it could complicate search and rescue (SAR) efforts.

Mohd Ashraf, 29, went missing while participating in the Gopeng Ultra Trail ultra marathon on March 23.

The operation has now entered its 24th day.

Comm Razarudin said some 800 SAR personnel, including villagers, police, Civil Defence Department and Fire and Rescue Department personnel had been involved since the first day.

He added that a mobile police station with three officers had been set up in the area while small-scale SAR operations were still ongoing.

In the report, Mohd Azlan wanted the police to cordon off and secure the search area to prevent the public from entering.

He also urged the public to stop sharing false news about his brother.

When contacted, he said the family appreciated the help of the public to look for his brother but it was better to leave the operation to the authorities.

“It has been more than 20 days. I feel that volunteers, especially those not from the area, should take a break and let the SAR personnel and villagers continue,” he said.

Missing