Two arrested over Johor Baru petrol station murder

The victim was stabbed then run over twice by a white BMW at the Taman Pelangi Shell station, about 4km from the Causeway linking Malaysia and Singapore. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysian police have detained a man and a woman over the recent brazen killing of a man at a Johor Baru petrol station.

They were arrested at 2.30am on Wednesday (Dec 20), three days after the attack, police said.

"We confirm that the police's special task force has arrested a Chinese man and a Chinese woman, aged 19 and 22, to facilitate the investigation," said Johor police chief Khalil Kader Mohd in a statement.

He added that fake and inaccurate news stories relating to the incident had caused public anxiety and interfered with police investigations.

The violent killing of the man, named Tan Ah Choy in media reports, has shocked Malaysians, with the authorities not discounting the possibility that it was an assassination.

The victim was stabbed, then run over twice by a white BMW at the Taman Pelangi Shell station, about 4km from the Causeway linking Malaysia and Singapore.

Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi told reporters on Tuesday that the victim was the leader of a criminal gang and the attack had allegedly stemmed from a turf dispute between two rival groups.

However, Malaysian deputy police chief Noor Rashid Ibrahim when met separately said: "We don't want to jump to conclusions, let us investigate first. Based on the information that we have, there's an involvement of money but we don't discount the possibility of it being a triad war."

According to a media report, the victim had 13 previous drug convictions.

The Malay Mail Online news site said investigators from the Johor Baru South district police Criminal Investigations Department are looking into a possible drug dispute between the attackers and the victim as a possible motive for the murder.

On Sunday evening, the victim had stopped at the petrol station to check his car tyres when he was assaulted by four men who alighted from a white BMW 5-series. He was dragged to the assailants' car but he fought back.

An 82-second video clip of the incident recorded by a bystander showed that during the scuffle, the victim was stabbed and left lying on the ground. 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.

Police said an autopsy showed the man died of a "stab wound to the heart".

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