Two Myanmar groups involved in grisly Penang murders: Police

Policemen at the scene of the murder of construction worker Hein Lat Kyaw in Butterworth, Penang. His body was found in an oil palm estate by a passer-by, who alerted the police at about 8.30am on Nov 11, 2014. -- PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWO
Policemen at the scene of the murder of construction worker Hein Lat Kyaw in Butterworth, Penang. His body was found in an oil palm estate by a passer-by, who alerted the police at about 8.30am on Nov 11, 2014. -- PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

GEORGE TOWN (The Star/Asia News Network): Police believe two groups of Myanmar nationals are involved in the recent spate of grisly murders of their countrymen in Penang.

Penang police chief Senior Deputy Comm Abdul Rahim Hanafi said on Thursday most members of the first group had been rounded up, solving a significant number of cases on the state's mainland territory.

A total of 20 people have now been nabbed in the widening investigation into the murder of at least 18 Myanmar nationals - many of whom had their throats slashed - in the state this year. Twelve Myanmar migrants had confessed to their role in nine of the murders, SDCP Abdul Rahim told reporters at the state police contingent headquarters.

"Based on our investigations, we are certain that there is another group involved in the murders on the island," he said. 

"We have yet to make any arrests for the second group but we are confident in nabbing them soon," he added.

SDCP Abdul Rahim, however, said the two groups were not acquainted.

Last week, police picked up another two suspects, in their 30s, on Penang island, taking the total number of suspects detained over the murders to 17.

Fifteen Myanmar nationals, in their 20s to 40s, including the mastermind, had been picked up over the past two weeks in a police operation codenamed Ops Kelar, in connection with the murder of their fellow countrymen.

Following the arrest of the 17, police believe they have solved the murder cases involving eight of the victims.

It was reported that on Nov 24, a package containing a human head was found in front of a restaurant at Taman Impian Ria, Bukit Mertajam.

Other discoveries of human parts such as a headless torso, a hand and a left arm had been made recently.

It was also reported that there have been 51 murders in the state this year, of which 18 victims were Malaysians and 33 foreigners.