ALOR SETAR: The smugglers thought they could escape after shooting two border intelligence operatives and killing one of them, but they underestimated the efficiency of Malaysia’s security forces.
In mere hours, a back-up team of VAT69 commandos had swept the jungle and caught two of them yesterday.
Three more were reportedly arrested by Thai police when they tried to seek treatment at a hospital in Thailand.
The General Operations Force (GOF) personnel who died in the gunfight was Koperal Baharuddin Ramli, 54, from Negri Sembilan.
The GOF is the light infantry arm of the Royal Malaysia Police.
In a statement, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin said Kpl Baharuddin’s partner, Kpl Norihan Tari, 39, was seriously injured.
“Kpl Norihan is now being treated in Tuanku Fauziah Hospital in Kangar, Perlis, ” he said, extending condolences to the family of Kpl Baharuddin.
Hamzah said early investigations showed that the two men were carrying out intelligence work along the border wall in Padang Besar called TS9 at 3am yesterday.
They were suddenly beset by two groups of smugglers comprising both Malaysians and foreigners and a shootout took place.
Police, said Hamzah, were now conducting a thorough investigation into the identity of these smugglers.
“Malaysia takes this incident seriously. We will never compromise with anyone, especially with smugglers, along our borders, ” he added.
Perlis police chief Datuk Surina Saad said two smugglers from Thailand were arrested.
“One (smuggler) was nabbed by a VAT69 commando squad after the incident and the other was arrested by GOF Battalion 3.
“No weapons were recovered, ” she told reporters near the scene of the shootout.
She added Malaysian police were informed that four other suspects had been arrested by Thai authorities in that country.
A police source revealed that one of those caught by Thai police was a 19-year-old woman and the others were in their 40s.
Kota Setar OCPD Asst Comm Ahmad Shukri Mat Akhir said Kpl Baharuddin’s body was sent to Sultanah Bahiyah Hospital for a post-mortem.
He said Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador had gone to the hospital to console the family members.
The IGP also visited Kpl Norihan, who is reported to be in a stable condition.
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