‘Riot due to overcrowding’

Playing it safe: An Immigration truck sending a group of women and children from the Sri Impian Immigration depot after the riot in Bandar Baharu, Kedah. — ZHAFARAN NASIB/The Star

ALOR SETAR: Overcrowding at the Sri Impian Immigration depot in Bandar Baharu in the state could have led to the riot and breakout, say police.

Kedah police chief Comm Wan Hassan Wan Ahmad said police were investigating further to pinpoint the cause of the incident.

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“The case is being investigated according to Sections 147 and 224 of the Penal Code,” he said in a press conference at the Bandar Baharu district police headquarters yesterday.

Comm Wan Hassan said 23 Immigration Department officers were at the depot when the riot broke out.

“However, no injuries were reported in the riot and there was only minor damage to the main gate as well as the fencing,” he added.

“There were too many detainees in a relatively narrow area and it became uncontrollable, with the detainees taking the opportunity to escape.”

Comm Wan Hassan said police then launched Op Cantas, which also involved the Penang contingent, to track down detainees who were at large.

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Fencing along the North-South Expressway damaged by rioters. Fencing along the North-South Expressway damaged by rioters.

“We have set up four roadblocks in the Bandar Baharu area, four in south Seberang Prai and five in the Kulim area.

“We also have police patrols on the ground,” he said.

Comm Wan Hassan also confirmed that six detainees were killed on the southbound side of the North-South Expressway, while trying to cross the highway near Jawi.

“Six people, including two children, were killed while crossing the expressway,” he said.

On the accident, Penang police chief Comm Datuk Mohd Shuhaily Mohd Zain said the driver, in his mid 50s was in shock, but has since calmed down.

“It was dark and the detainees were moving in groups.

“When they were crossing the expressway, the car hit six of them,” he said.

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