There was another criminal incident taking place on the same day Kim Jong-nam was assassinated in klia2.
Everyone has since turned his attention to Kim’s killing because it is an international event that could potentially tense the relations between North Korea with China and South Korea, and would entail Malaysia’s international image as well as diplomatic ties with Pyongyang.
As a consequence, that other incident has been largely overlooked.
In the absence of the assassination, the abduction of 61-year-old Pastor Raymond Koh would have been a major piece of social news in the country, but for the past three weeks, Kim Jong-nam has been featured prominently on local media, pushing the abduction case to an inconspicuous corner.
While the police have made significant progress in the investigation of Kim’s killing, little progress has been made in the probe of the pastor’s disappearance. No one knows who the suspects are, nor the motives behind and the pastors whereabouts.
The police have been able to identify and arrest the assassination suspects based on the CCTV footage. Given the police’s competency, it wouldn’t be problem for them to apprehend Koh’s abductors, especially with the video now going viral on social media.
From the video, we can deduce that the incident was not just another ordinary kidnapping because it had been meticulously designed and could have some unknown motives.
Three black SUVs were hunting down Koh’s vehicle on a residential road and sandwiched it. Several men came out from the SUVs, one of them armed, and within a minute Koh was taken away while his car was driven away.
Shockingly, the abductors even arranged two other cars and two motorcycles to stand guard and direct traffic, forcing all other vehicles to take a detour.
Normal kidnapping cases will not involve such a massive line-up of vehicles and accomplices. According to news reports, a total of 15 individuals on seven different vehicles were involved in Koh’s abduction.
Moreover, kidnappings normally take place in the dark, for example Abu Sayyaf terrorists go ashore to look for captives only in the wee hours of the morning. The abduction in broad daylight has been highly unusual.
In ordinary kidnappings, the abductors will call the victim’s family for ransom, but Koh’s family has yet to receive any call from them.
The video shows that the abductors were well trained and agile in their movements. But, what were their motives given that Koh is not hailing from a well-to-do family?
It has been reported that the “Harapan Komuniti” initiative led by Koh had on August 3, 2011 rented the meeting hall of Damansara Utama Methodist Church for a thanksgiving dinner which was raided by some 30 JAIS enforcement personnel and police cops. Then state exco in charge of Islamic affairs Hasan Mohamed Ali argued that he had proof activities promoting other religions to Muslims were held that evening.
Koh later received a threat letter with six bullets. He reported to the police but there has been no follow-up since.
No one knows whether his abduction has anything to do with the 2011 incident but due to the unusual nature of this case, there have been speculations. It is imperative that the police resolve this case as soon as possible so as to dispel the doubts of the public and prevent rumors from creating bigger havoc in our society.
The police have already set up a special task force to be headed by Selangor CID chief Fadzil Ahmat, while IGP Khalid Abu Bakar has instructed the task force to contact Koh’s family and follow up the case. The police should do more than this, and should search for evidences and probe the vehicles shown in the CCTV footage.
Christians and members of the public nationwide have been holding candlelight vigils to pray for Koh’s safe return, and the police must hold a dialogue with Christian organizations in a bid to allay their fears.
With extremism on the rise in the midst of political chaos in recent years, relations among religions and ethnic communities have become both fragile and sensitive. It is essential for the authorities to take the necessary measure to prevent any incident from developing into a major crisis.
The government has the obligation to assure Malaysians of their right to freedom from fear.