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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Pastor Koh abduction: 100 days and still no answers

PETALING JAYA - It has been 100 days since Pastor Raymond Koh was abducted, and there has been no update from the police on investigations into his disappearance.

Koh, 62, was abducted by a group of masked men less than 100 metres from the Police Housing Complex in SS4, Kelana Jaya, on the morning of Feb 13. Video footage later emerged showing what looks like a well-executed plan involving seven vehicles and at least 12 individuals.

The footage, which seemed to have been carefully edited with captions and showing an opposite angle, also highlights how two other cars and two motorcycles were part of the operation, coming up close behind, and preventing an unsuspecting MyVi from going near where the three SUVs had cornered Koh’s Honda Accord.

One of the motorbikes is then seen forcing the MyVi to retreat to the junction, off the highway.

The whole incident takes place in less than a minute, with all vehicles, including Koh’s car, seen driving away.

Police set up a special task force to investigate the abduction and had reportedly claimed to be hindered by media coverage in carrying out their investigation.

To date, Koh remains missing and the identities of his abductors and their accomplices remain a mystery.

Aside from a false lead in early March, when a man called the family demanding a ransom to secure the pastor’s release, there have been zero leads from the police on who could be behind the abduction.

On March 9, police arrested the man who called the family asking for the ransom money.

Investigations later found he was just an opportunist who was unemployed and trying to capitalise on the lack of any prior ransom requests.

Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar previously told reporters that investigations were being hindered by the wide media coverage on the case.

Meanwhile, theSun reported Selangor criminal investigation department chief SAC Fadzil Ahmat, who heads the task force, as saying that police are still working hard on the case, but without any new updates.

Amanah leader Mujahid Yusof Rawa suggests there must be some information that the police would have found by now, expressing his concern on the lack of updates.

“This begs the question of our security. For a person to be kidnapped in broad daylight and the police having yet to find a single clue on his disappearance to this day is a bit worrying. Surely, by now police must know what happened to him,” the Parit Buntar MP was quoted as saying by theSun.

The reward of RM100,000 from Koh’s family for any information that could help in his rescue has also not borne any clues to his disappearance.

Vigils have taken place on significant milestones such as the one-month and 50-day marks since the abduction, with hundreds of people joining Koh’s family, including church leaders political party leaders and social activists, in the Klang Valley as well as in Sarawak.

The pastor was at the centre of controversy in 2011 after his NGO, Harapan Komuniti, was accused by the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) of proselytising Muslims, following a raid at a thanksgiving and fundraising dinner at the Damansara Utama Methodist Church.

Later he received a death threat in the form of a bullet that was sent to his home, a close friend revealed.

According to Koh’s wife, Susanna Liew, more vigils have been planned until Koh’s return as his family, friends and all concerned Malaysians pray for his safe return.

On the 50-day mark after Koh’s abduction, Liew told a vigil in Shah Alam about the anguish the family continues to face daily.

“My children and I need to know where he is, and if he is well. I want to know why he was snatched from us this way, and who is behind this.

“After 50 days of silence, does anyone question why I am crying for answers? For justice?” Liew said.

She had earlier written an appeal in a commentary published by FMT on the impact Koh’s abduction has on the country.

“My husband’s abduction is unprecedented in Malaysia, which has long stood as a global example of multiracial and interfaith harmony. This harmony is precious to all of us: it is the foundation on which we stand as a nation.

“For many Malaysians, the abduction of my husband, a man of faith who is known in the community for his charity work, is a blow to that harmony. As such, I urge all our leaders to do their best to address and allay this very real fear.

“It is not just my family who are traumatised by this, but many others who do not even know Raymond, yet feel concern and a deep sense of outrage at what happened to him.
I thank all those leaders who have spoken up.

“I hope more will step up to send a clear message that Malaysia does not tolerate such acts of criminal violence against anyone, regardless of race, religion, creed or circumstances.”

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