JOHOR BARU - Two men were charged on Thursday (Jan 11) over the brutal murder a 45-year-old man, believed to be a gang leader, at a petrol station in Johor Baru last month, the first charges to be brought in the case which shocked Malaysians after footage of the incident went viral, Malaysian media reported.
The two accused - Gan Jia Ji and Yip Kah Hou - were charged at the magistrate's court in Johor Baru on Thursday morning, The Star reported.
Gan, 20, is charged with murdering Tan Aik Chai, 45, on Dec 17 last year at around 7.30pm at the petrol station in Jalan Sri Pelangi. Gan, who was unrepresented by a laywer, is accused of having committed the crime together with five others who are still at large.
Yip, a 24-year-old restaurant helper, was charged with murder and abetting the murder with three others still at large.
Both the accused nodded that they understood the charges after they were read out before magistrate Siti Hajar Ali. However, no plea was recorded.
The violent killing of the man saw the victim being dragged and stabbed by four suspects before he was run over by a white BMW car twice. An 82-second video clip of the incident recorded by a bystander later went viral.
Johor police chief Mohd Khalil Kader Mohd said on Wednesday that police were still keeping the case open as they believed that nine other suspects - aged between 21 and 40 - are still directly involved in the case. He said police would not rest until all the suspects have been brought to justice due to the vicious nature of the crime, the New Straits Times reported on Wednesday.
He added that police believed that the nine suspects were still hiding in the country and all efforts were being made to track them.
The police had previously detained 15 people to assist in the investigations, although 13 of them have since been released.
Meanwhile, police intelligence has revealed that several other suspects linked to the murder might have gone into hiding in Thailand, Bernama reported on Wednesday.
Crime investigation department chief Wan Ahmad Najmuddin Mohd said efforts were underway to track down and detain the fugitives with the assistance of the Royal Thai Police.
"We believe a few of them have fled here. We have obtained their records (of slipping into Thailand)... one of them is the main suspect (in the murder)", he told Bernama in an interview on Wednesday.
Datuk Seri Wan Ahmad Najmuddin said he was confident all the suspects who fled to Thailand would be tracked down, arrested and brought back to Malaysia to face justice.
"It is just a matter of time (before they are arrested)," he said, adding that the records comprised the photos and documents of the suspects as well as other details.
Mr Wan Ahmad Najmuddin also acknowledged that the Malaysian police had received positive response from the Thai police.