Hunt for ex-lover led to bomb scare in Petaling Jaya condo unit

Suspects also attacked a family, torched their home, while looking for Vietnamese woman

KUALA LUMPUR • Two men and a woman attacked three people in a dispute over a Vietnamese woman in the wee hours of Sunday, then left behind a homemade bomb that exploded and nearly burned down the victims' home.

Police investigating the case later followed a trail that led them 25km away to a condominium and a car in another part of Greater Kuala Lumpur, where they found 12kg of drugs along with five more homemade bombs, in a case that was earlier thought to be linked to terrorism.

On Sunday, residents of the Metropolitan Square complex at the Damansara Perdana suburb of Petaling Jaya were told to evacuate, as police went into a 17th floor unit to remove the bombs.

The improvised explosive devices were detonated in a nearby quarry at around noon.

Details of how the group of gangsters, not terrorists, were uncovered were reported by The Star newspaper yesterday.

While on the trail of a gang of suspects, police discovered five homemade bombs in a 17th floor unit of the Metropolitan Square complex in the Damansara Perdana suburb on Sunday. They also found 12kg of drugs in the car of one of the suspects. PHOTO: SCREEN GRAB FROM A SINCHEW VIDEO ON POCKETIMES

News of the evacuation of the condo, located just 1km from Ikea's huge main store in Malaysia, had spread like wildfire on Sunday morning, as the incident was thought to be linked to a terrorist hideout.

The drama started when the trio of attackers broke into the home of a man and his parents in Sri Petaling at 1.30am on Sunday, looking for the Vietnamese woman - an ex-girlfriend of one of the attackers.

"The suspects then attacked the victim (the man) and pointed an object that looked like a pistol at him," Kuala Lumpur Criminal Investigation Department chief Zainuddin Ahmad told reporters.

They beat up the three victims and handcuffed them, before setting fire to the home using a homemade bomb, the police said.

The police received a tip-off to go to the Damansara Perdana condominium and got there at 4.30am, but the three suspects had left the unit.

The police evacuated some 200 residents from the 23-storey middle-class condo at around 8.30am after finding the bombs in one of the rooms, and later questioned the owner of the unit who had rented out the place.

Most of those living in Metropolitan Square are Malaysians, but there are some residents from the Middle East, Africa and South Korea. A room can be rented for about RM650 (S$225), while a three-bedroom unit sells for at least RM600,000, residents say.

"The police found improvised explosive devices in one of the units there. Some were pipe bombs and there were circuit boards attached, which are believed to be used for remote detonation purposes," said Petaling Jaya police chief Mohd Zani Che Din.

Police also found 9kg of drugs, believed to be ketamine, 2kg of syabu and 1kg of what is believed to be cocaine in the car of one of the suspects.

The residents, who were mostly more curious than alarmed about what had happened, were allowed back into their homes after 1pm.

The police said they were looking for Ng Woon Chief @ Ah Chong, 37, to help in their investigations.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 19, 2016, with the headline 'Hunt for ex-lover led to bomb scare'. Subscribe