Malaysian police say no leads on abducted pastor, blame publicity

Malaysian church pastor Raymond Koh Keng Joo was abducted in broad daylight in Petaling Jaya on Feb 13, 2017.
Malaysian church pastor Raymond Koh Keng Joo was abducted in broad daylight in Petaling Jaya on Feb 13, 2017.PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

KULAI • Malaysian police have no leads on the Feb 13 abduction of Pastor Raymond Koh Keng Joo, confirmed Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar yesterday.

He warned the public and the media against generating too much publicity on the case, saying: "To the media, individuals and non-governmental organisations who want to get involved in kidnap cases, shut your bloody mouth; you are putting the victim in a high degree of danger."

He also blamed the lack of leads on excess publicity, reported national news agency Bernama.

"I am worried because our investigation is in a stalemate as we don't have further information on the missing pastor. I believe it is due to too much publicity."

Mr Koh, 62, was abducted from his car by a group of men in Kelana Jaya, a bustling suburb in Selangor state. According to witnesses and closed-circuit television camera footage, he was taken by at least five masked men in what appeared to be a professionally executed kidnapping.

The family has offered a RM100,000 (S$32,000) reward for his safe return.

"The people who abducted Pastor Raymond are obviously very meticulous and when people keep blabbering until the whole world knows, we can't tell what has become of him. There's no lead now. I'm with the family. We are worried too," said Tan Sri Khalid.

Mr Khalid told reporters that Malaysian police, with the help of Indonesian and Singaporean authorities, had on Sunday rescued a housewife who was abducted in Johor Baru 27 days ago and taken to Batam. Eighteen people have been arrested in the case.

"The criminals did not contact the family for almost two weeks," he said. "This is where it is important and crucial for the family to cooperate with police, without drawing too much public attention to it."

There are also media reports that another Malaysian pastor, Mr Joshua Hilmy, and his wife Ruth have been missing since November. According to the Sun Daily, police have said they cannot move forward in investigations because the complainant who lodged the missing persons report gave very scarce details.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 21, 2017, with the headline 'Malaysian police say no leads on abducted pastor, blame publicity'. Print Edition | Subscribe