BUKIT MERTAJAM (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The Taman Nagasari neighbourhood in Prai, where hundreds of foreign workers live alongside local residents, was shaken by news of the gruesome murder of three Myanmar nationals.
The bodies of factory workers Naing Win, 28, and Kyaw Hoe, 33, were found half-naked in a pool of blood at the porch of a double-storey terrace house, while the body of another Myanmar national, aged 24, was found outside the premises.
Naing Win and Kyaw Hoe were believed to be taking a bath at the porch to avoid queuing up for the bathroom inside the house when they were attacked.
Another Myanmar factory worker, aged 33, sustained rib and hand injuries and was sent to hospital for treatment.
The identities of the third deceased and the injured have yet to be confirmed by police.
Police forensics team and the K-9 unit were at the crime scene to conduct a three-hour investigation.
Penang CID chief SAC Datuk Razarudin Husain said in a statement that police received a report about a quarrel at the house at about 6.30am yesterday.
"Initial investigations showed that both the victims were murdered during a quarrel.
"Both the deceased and the injured victim were among 17 Myanmar workers living in the house, which is used as a hostel.
"All of them are working in the same factory nearby.
"The deceased, who was found outside the house, was not a resident of the house.
"They were found with injuries believed to be caused by sharp weapons. However, no weapon was found at the scene," he said.
SAC Razarudin added that police were looking for eight suspects allegedly involved in the murder.
They were believed to have fled in four motorcycles.
Central Seberang Prai OCPD Asst Comm Rusli Mohd Noor, who issued a separate statement on the case, said 15 men aged between 22 and 38, who are housemates of the victims, had been detained to assist in investigation.
A resident who declined to be named, said the Myanmar workers had been living in the house for the past three years and there had been no problems.
"Many of the houses here have been rented by employers for their foreign workers," he said.
In 2014, it was reported that 18 Myanmar nationals were killed and 10 other unidentified bodies, which could have been Myanmar nationals, were found.
The cases triggered an extensive police investigation, which led to the discovery of a single-storey house in Kampung Pisang in Machang Bubok, where Myanmar nationals were murdered and dismembered in brutal revenge killings.