Conflicting statements by two cops at hearing on Pastor Raymond Koh's abduction in Malaysia

The probe into Pastor Raymond Koh's abduction is now mired in confusion - over the gender and race of the four suspects taken in for investigation. PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The probe into Pastor Raymond Koh's abduction is now mired in confusion - over the gender and race of the four suspects taken in for investigation.

Selangor Criminal Investigation Department chief Fadzil Ahmat said three men and a Thai woman were handed over to his task force to be investigated, when asked by Mr Jerald Gomez, the lawyer representing Pastor Koh's family.

The information, however, was questioned by Mr Gomez. The lawyer said that investigating officer assistant superintendent Supari Muhammad had previously claimed that it was four men - three Malays and an Indian - who were detained.

Pastor Koh was abducted from his car by a group of men in Petaling Jaya on Feb 13 at about 11am while on his way to a friend's house.

The Human Rights Commission (Suhakam), a body appointed by the government, is holding an inquiry over Pastor Koh's abduction, and the disappearance of social activist Amri Che Mat, Malay pastor Joshua Hilmi and his wife, Ms Ruth Sitepu.

The inquiry is being held under Section 12(1) of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia Act.

In June, then Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar said police found compelling evidence that pointed to Pastor Koh's kidnapping following a shootout with a drug and arms smuggler in Kedah on June 17.

Four people were arrested following the shootout and they were taken to Kuala Lumpur where they were remanded.

At the hearing on Thursday (Nov 23), senior assistant commissioner Fadzil said: "There were three men and a woman. They were arrested in connection with Koh's abduction. They were handed over to us (by the Kedah police), to the Petaling Jaya police headquarters."

Further investigations also led police to raid a house in Kampung Selarong, Pengkalan Hulu, Perak.

During the raid, four items relating to Pastor Koh were found at the suspect's house: photos of the pastor, his house and his vehicle as well as a licence plate bearing the number ST5515D.

When asked by Mr Gomez to confirm the race of the three men, SAC Fadzil said they were two Malays and an Indian.

Upon further probing, Mr Gomez asked SAC Fadzil to confirm the earlier statement made by ASP Supari to the inquiry who said that four male suspects were arrested and that there were no females detained.

"I need to go back to check this. I am not sure. To be exact I have to go back to check on this," SAC Fadzil said, adding that ASP Supari might be right as he was the investigating officer.

SAC Fadzil later also retracted his remarks that the Thai woman was taken to Kuala Lumpur to be questioned.

He said that maybe she was questioned in Kedah and was not sure if police personnel working on Pastor Koh's case were sent to Kedah to interrogate the Thai woman.

Meanwhile, Mr Mah Weng Kwai, chairman of the inquiry, also questioned how the four items relating to Pastor Koh's abduction ended up in the suspect's house.

"I don't have any explanation as to how those items ended up in the house," SAC Fadzil said.

Mr Gomez also questioned why the four items were not in the search list in Kedah Police chief commissioner Asri Yusoff's report.

"I have not seen the search list," he said. He later clarified that the suspects were released after their remand order was up as they had no evidence to link them to Pastor Koh's case.

The hearing before Mr Mah, Professor Aishah Bidin and Dr Nik Salida Suhaila Nik Saleh continues on Dec 4.

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