SHAH ALAM, Selangor - Malaysian police have stepped up a manhunt to locate four suspects involved in the brazen murder of a businessman at a petrol station in Johor Baru on Sunday evening (Dec 17), about 4km from the Causeway.
A video of the attack at a Shell station in Taman Pelangi was widely shared on social media, but police say the white BMW 5-series that carried the assailants used a fake registration number.
The video showed that the victim was stabbed and then run over twice by the car in the 7.30pm incident.
"We managed to trace the original owner of the registration number and we found that the owner had nothing to do with this case," Johor police chief Mohd Khalil Kader Mohd said in a statement yesterday.
The registration number was found to belong to a car owned by a 55-year-old man in Shah Alam, the Selangor state capital, according to The Malay Mail Online news site.
"Police have successfully identified the four suspects involved in the case and have stepped up efforts to locate and catch them," Datuk Khalil said.
Such brazen attacks involving what are believed to be gangland disputes happen regularly in Malaysia, with gunmen on motorcycles sometimes killing people in cars when they are stopped at traffic lights.
In October, two men in their 30s were injured in Johor's northern Tangkak town, after a man fired seven shots at them while they were in a coffee shop.
In the case on Sunday, police said the 44-year-old victim, believed to be known as "Ah Chiu", died of a "stab wound to the heart". A post-mortem was conducted yesterday by Sultanah Aminah Hospital.
Recent violent crimes in Johor
Two men in their 30s were injured after a man fired seven shots at them while they were in a coffee shop at Pekan Bukit Gambir, Tangkak. The two men were having drinks with a group of friends at 4 am when they were shot at close range. The suspect fled the scene on a motorcycle. Five men were subsequently arrested in what was believed to be a drugs-related case.
Three suspected leaders of an armed robbery gang which had terrorised Johor for a decade were killed in a shootout with the police in Muar. A police car had tailed a silver BMW 3-series driven by the trio and tried to get the suspects' vehicle to stop. In the ensuing gun battle between police and the suspects, the three men were killed. Police recovered a revolver, a 12-bore pump gun and a machete from the car.
Three men believed to be planning to rob people withdrawing cash from ATMs in Permas Jaya, Johor Bahru were shot dead by police after a high-speed car chase in which gunfire was exchanged. Two pistols were found in the suspects' car, which had earlier been reported stolen.
A 44-year-old Singaporean chef armed with a machete was allegedly beaten up by three men with baseball bats in Johor Baru, after he tried to recover a RM500 (S$161) debt from one of them. The chef said he only intended to scare the men with his machete but was set upon by the three men instead. Mr Fong Teck Keong required 30 stitches for his head wound.
A businessman was gunned down at a carpark in a shopping mall in Taman Pelangi, Johor Baru as he was placing groceries in the boot of his car. Mr T. Magendran, 35, was shot dead with a single shot at close range. He was reported to have owned two convenience stores and a cafe.
A businessman was shot three times in the chest outside a restaurant in Jalan Trus, Johor Baru on July 28. The 44-year-old victim was attacked shortly after midnight by the pillion rider of a motorcycle that had slowed down. He survived the attack, which police said could have been prompted by business rivalry.
On July 15, a Malaysian lorry driver who worked in Singapore was shot dead when he got home to his flat in Skudai. Mr K. Kirubanandan, 41 was shot five times by an assailant who had been waiting nearby in a four-wheel-drive vehicle.
Sources: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK, BERNAMA
Malaysian media reports say the victim had stopped his white Volkswagen car at the Taman Pelangi Shell station, while his wife was inside the vehicle. The white BMW stopped nearby and four men alighted and began assaulting the victim. He was dragged to the assailants' car but fought back.
An 82-second video clip of the incident recorded by a bystander showed that during the scuffle, an attacker stabbed him. Firecrackers were then thrown from the car towards where the victim lay.
The assailants' car circled the petrol station and ran over the man, before reversing and running over him again.
The car then sped out of the station, stopping briefly for one of the assailants to get in before fleeing.
The victim was seen conscious, media reports said, but was believed to have died while help was on the way.
Datuk Khalil told reporters at the scene that police found a stab wound on the victim's chest.
Media reports yesterday said that the victim's wife took his body away at around 2.10pm at the hospital's mortuary, after the autopsy.
Police, meanwhile, asked the public to stop speculating about the identities of the four suspects.
Johor Criminal Investigation Department chief Azman Ayob made the appeal after multiple photos of four men allegedly involved in the attack were circulated on social media.
"The public should stop circulating incorrect and inaccurate information online," he said, according to Bernama news agency.