KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK)- A human trafficking syndicate, busted in operations in Kedah and Perak last month, may have been involved in the abduction of Pastor Raymond Koh, said the Inspector-General of Police.
Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said that police investigations following the detention of three syndicate members indicated that Koh might have been their victim.
"We believe this syndicate has links with groups in southern Thailand.
"We are working with our Thai counterparts to investigate further," he told a press conference after a handover ceremony for three Bukit Aman directors on Tuesday (July 25). Bukit Aman is the headquarters of the Royal Malaysia Police.
Asked whether the police believe Koh has been taken to a neighbouring country, the Inspector-General of Police said investigation are still ongoing.
On July 17, Perak Serious Crimes Unit and Special Task Force On Organised Crime were involved in a shootout with a suspect near Kampung Weng, Ulu Lenggong, Kedah.
The suspect, who was killed in the shootout, had opened fire at police with a 9mm Norinco pistol.
A search of his Toyota Vios turned up 40g of heroin and two licence plates.
In a follow-up operation, police raided a house in Kampung Selarong, Pengkalan Hulu, Perak and arrested the suspect's Thai wife.
They also seized a pipe bomb, 250g of drugs, a cache of bullets and photos of the pastor, his house and his vehicles as well as a licence plate bearing the number ST5515D.
Three other suspects, in their 30s and 60s, were arrested in a follow-up operation recently.
Investigations revealed the dead suspect in his 40s was the main player in an arms, drugs and human trafficking syndicate operating at the Malaysian-Thailand border.
Koh was abducted by a group of masked men in SUVs along Jalan SS4B/10, less than 100m from the Police Housing Complex in Kelana Jaya on Feb 13.
He was driving a silver Honda Accord bearing the licence plate ST5515D to a friend's house in Kelana Jaya when he was abducted.
CCTV footage showed that at least 10 men and seven vehicles were involved in the abduction.