Paris shooting: Malaysia police chief refutes reports that grocery store hostage takers once visited Malaysia

Hayat Boumeddiene (left) and Amedy Coulibaly in a photo released by the Paris Prefecture de Police on Jan 9, 2015. -- PHOTO: REUTERS 
Hayat Boumeddiene (left) and Amedy Coulibaly in a photo released by the Paris Prefecture de Police on Jan 9, 2015. -- PHOTO: REUTERS 

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysia's police chief Khalid Abu Bakar refuted on Saturday reports that the couple who was involved in Friday's fatal hostage crisis in Paris had once visited Malaysia.

The Inspector-General of Police tweeted via @KBAB51: "Paris attack - Checks by @PDRMsia resulted, Amedy and his wife Hayat have never entered M'sia."

Foreign media reports had claimed that the couple - Amedy Coulibaly, 32, and his girlfriend, Hayat Boumeddiene, 26 - who took hostages at a Jewish grocery store in Paris on Friday had once travelled to Malaysia.

The reports did not give specific dates as to when they visited Malaysia but quoted sources as saying that they travelled together to Malaysia for a holiday.

Before going on their rampage this week, Coulibaly and Boumeddiene lived in the Paris suburb of Bagneux, where neighbours were quoted as saying that the two were a "devoutly religious couple".

They were quiet, respectful and normal, but disappeared from their suburban home about a month ago, the reports added.

According to French judicial documents, a police search of Coulibaly's residence in 2010 turned up a crossbow, 240 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition, films and photos of him during a trip to Malaysia, as well as letters seeking false official documents.

Coulibaly was shot dead after taking hostages at a Paris kosher grocery store in a second stand-off on Friday.

He had demanded the freedom of the two brothers - Cheris, 32 and Said Kouachi, 34 - who were behind the massacre of 12 people at satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo in Paris on Wednesday. That assault led to a massive police manhunt that ended in a hostage-taking standoff at a printing plant in a village 30km from Paris.

Coulibaly and the Kouachi brothers were shot dead by the police.

Boumeddiene is believed to have escaped and is now on the run, becoming France's most wanted woman.

She is considered armed and dangerous.