BANGKOK (BERNAMA) - Malaysian police intelligence has revealed that several suspects linked to the gruesome murder of a man at a petrol station in Johor Bahru in December might have gone into hiding in Thailand.
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 (Jan 10).
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.
"They are very positive to our request. I am confident of bringing the suspects back to Malaysia," he said, adding that his deputy, and the Malaysian police's liaison officer in Thailand would coordinate the search for the fugitives.
On Dec 17, four men stabbed the 44-year-old victim at a petrol station in Taman Pelangi, Johor Bahru. As the victim lay bleeding on the ground, the assailants ran over the victim twice in their white BMW car.
A woman, believed to be the victim's wife was standing nearby. The incident was recorded by patrons at the petrol station and the video went viral on social media.
It was reported that the police have since detained 14 individuals to facilitate investigations into the murder, with 11 of them subsequently released.
According to Mr Wan Ahmad Najmuddin, the police believe the case has been solved as they have all the evidence to charge one of the suspects in court.
He said investigations revealed the murder was carefully planned with certain individuals assigned to trail the victim's car and deflate his car tyres at the petrol station.
He said the killing had stemmed from a dispute over the victim's RM50,000 (S$16,656) debt and was not due to turf war involving two gangs as reported earlier. He added the murder was not part of a triad war.
Meanwhile in Pontian, Johor, the state police are currently in the midst of tracking down nine new suspects linked to the petrol station murder.
Johor police chief Datuk Mohd Khalil Kader Mohd said the suspects aged between 21 and 40 were believed to be members of a secret society.
"We believe all of them had a role to play in the case and they have criminal records. Warrants of arrest have been issued and we seek public cooperation," he told reporters at a press conference on Wednesday (Jan 10).