Top 3 theories on the cause of the Bukit Bintang blast

The blast in Bukit Bintang killed one person and injured 13 on Thursday. While Malaysian police are still investigating the blast, here’s a look at some theories that made the rounds:

Theory 1: Targeted attack

-- PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

Malaysian media has revealed that the blast caused by using old hand grenades were aimed at eliminating a ganglord who went by the name ‘Ah Hai’. The 53-year-old was a target because he had ruffled a few feathers by trying to poach bookies for his online gambling syndicate from rival organisations. The attack reportedly happened after Ah Hai, who had gone to Cherry Blossom club to negotiate a bookie deal, left the premises with his entourage. Two grenades were hurled at him from the second floor of the Sun Plaza car park near the club, of which one exploded and killed a man, while the other was denoted by the police later. Ah Hai, who escaped unhurt, will be called by the police for investigations. KL Criminal Investigation Department chief Gan Kong Meng refused to comment on the Ah Hai theory.

Theory 2: Turf war

-- PHOTO: @F4IZALHASSAN/TWITTER

Gangland crime has been specially worrisome in Malaysia since last year when a spate of drive-by shootings and gun fights had spread panic among residents. Officials had listed at least 49 illegal gangs last year, which are involved in drug dealing, extortion, murder and other crimes. Since the Cherry Blossom club is frequented by gang members, initial theories pointed towards a possible gang-related blast to scare or warn other gang members. Social media users pointed out that the area is well known for prostitution and illegal migrant activities, so an underworld dispute was more likely to happen. Police also said gangsters could have been behind the explosion. Mr Gan told The Straits Times they're "investigating and gathering witnesses" in the case.

Theory 3: Terrorism

-- PHOTO: REUTERS

When the grenades went off at 4 am in the morning, residents feared the worst. Initial speculation was the blast may have been terrorism-related, especially in the backdrop of reports that scores of Malaysians are believed to have joined the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Many comments on the social media voiced fear that ISIS may have reached the shores of Malaysia. Others also quickly associated the blast with the heated debate over ‘Oktoberfest’ beer festival. The festival is being opposed as “vice” by hardline Islamists. But police put that theory of homegrown terror to rest by flatly denying it was more than local gangs fighting for a piece of the pie.

Source: The Malay Mail, Malaysian Insider, The Star