This article first appeared in The Sunday Times on July 14, 2013
Two days after he fled Singapore, the law finally caught up with murder suspect Iskandar Rahmat at a seafood restaurant he knew well.
Restoran Singgah Selalu, an eatery popular with Singaporeans, was located at Danga Bay, a waterfront area just minutes from the Causeway.
The operations manager of the 24-hour restaurant, Mr Azhar Abu Bakar, told The Sunday Times yesterday that he recognised Iskandar because he had been there several times before with a small group of friends.
On Friday, he was seen talking to a friend at about 11pm outside the seafood joint.
But this time, they were being watched.
“He continued to chat with his friend outside the restaurant as the plainclothes police officers walked past him,” said the restaurant manager, Mr Mohamed Faizal.
Mr Faizal, 34, said he recognised the officers from Malaysia’s Criminal Investigation Department because they were regulars at his restaurant too.
The restaurant was packed at the time, with about 100 diners.
Shortly after, two patrol cars pulled up, and uniformed officers joined their plainclothes counterparts. Six officers quickly marched up to the pair and surrounded them.
“The two men appeared very calm and they did not try to run away,” said Mr Faizal. “They also did not put up a struggle when the police handcuffed them.”
It was all over in less than 10 minutes.
Both men were led away in one of the police cars. A scooter, which is believed to have been used by Iskandar to leave Singapore, was also taken.
Said Mr Azhar, 46: “Some of the plainclothes police officers returned to the restaurant at about 3am for supper and they told us that the man they arrested earlier was a murder suspect in Singapore.
“He looked so normal, just like any other customer. It was hard to imagine that he could be involved in a double murder.”
A New Straits Times report yesterday, quoting a source, said all active duty police personnel in Johor were alerted on Thursday, and were briefed about the suspect’s particulars and his scooter.
Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean also thanked the Royal Malaysian Police, saying this was “an excellent example of the close and deeply valued partnership the law enforcement agencies of both countries have built over many decades”.