The vocalist of popular 1980s rock band Fotograf, Shamrin Abdul Samad, said he was aware that the band's drummer Sham Ahmad (pic) was arrested in Venezuela two months ago on suspicions of trafficking drugs.
However, he said he remained silent at the request of Sham's family.
Sham, otherwise known as Ringgo, was caught with 4.6kg of cocaine in one of his bags at Caracas’ Simon Bolivar International Airport last November. He claimed he was framed by a man, reportedly a Malaysian, who had asked him to help carry his bag.
Venezuela does not have the death penalty for drug offences, but if the drummer is found guilty, he could be jailed for 15 years.
Shamrin said he was shocked when he heard the news from a friend last November, but couldn’t do anything as the case occurred abroad.
“I am sure someone framed him. His family was very upset, and at that time, no one (else) knew about it. Of course, I wanted to raise the matter but I had to respect his family's decision not to reveal the matter to other parties, including the media,” Shamrin said when contacted.
Ringgo’s family members did not answer calls from The Star.
According to Shamrin, he knew Ringgo, 41, well, adding that it was sad to see Ringgo pay for a crime he believed the drummer did not commit.
“I've known him for about 20 years. The band is still around even though all of us have other commitments. I am sure he is not the type who would do such things. He is not even a heavy smoker and, in fact, is now a religious person.
“Our band is supposed to release a new album soon, which we have already completed. But I don’t know how we are going to do it without him around. Perhaps, we will defer it first,” said Shamrin.
Fotograf’s former lead guitarist Shahrul Bahrain Ahmad, 41, also expressed shock at the news when contacted yesterday.
Fotograf hit the limelight in the late 1980s with hits songs like Jangan Kau Ucap Selamat Tinggal, Di Alam Fana Cinta, Luka Seribu Rindu and Nafas Kekasih.
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan said police have yet to get a report Ringgo's arrest from their Venezuelan counterparts.