Kuhan’s case is still under investigation and last week we saw another 6 Indians being sent home in body bags. This time, the police said the 6 were dangerous criminals high on the wanted list for a series of armed robberies on goldsmith shops in Kedah, Penang, Perak and Selangor.
The six suspected robbers shot dead in Kampung Kemunting, Karangan, Kulim on Tuesday were high on the police’s wanted list for the past two years.
Bukit Aman CID director Commissioner Datuk Seri Mohd Bakri Zinin said the group was believed to be involved in at least nine armed robbery cases, including five in Kedah alone.
“They were part of a group with links to the notorious ‘Gang 8’ that was actively involved in criminal activities in Kulim.
“We have been monitoring them for two years and took all necessary measures before conducting our raid at their house that was guarded by several Rottweilers and three-metre high zinc fencing,” he said at a press conference here yesterday.
Comm Mohd Bakri said the raiding team, comprising CID officers and personnel from Bukit Aman, Penang, Perak and Kedah, were shot at by the suspects and police returned fire, killing them.
Police also recovered some items believed to be used for melting gold such as pots and pans, as well as utensils used to process dadah. Three vehicles — a BMW 318i, Jeep Cherokee and Proton Perdana — were also recovered.
Bakri was upset that some groups blamed the police for the deaths.
Police yesterday lashed out at politicians and non-governmental organisations for stirring up racial sentiments in the operation in Kulim where six Indians were shot dead.
“Stop this,” was the warning from Federal Criminal Investigation Department director Datuk Seri Bakri Zinin to the politicians and non-governmental organisations which he did not name.
“It is not true that police pick on skin colour when we enforce the law and catch criminals. It is also not true that we had shot an 18-year-old youth in the operation.”
… “We had that gang under surveillance for two years. We identified ourselves but they opened fire,” he said.
“My men were simply defending themselves. We, too, have the right to defend ourselves, especially when we know the men are armed and dangerous.”
Bakri said it was not fair for anyone to jump to conclusions since all were of the same race.
“We have busted many gangs before and some of their members were of different races.
“Four days ago, we crippled an armed robbery gang comprising foreigners in Terengganu.
“So, what does that make us? We carry out our duties professionally and we do not pick on skin colour before taking action against anyone.”
Some reports say that the shooting happened in Kampung Kemunting, Karangan, Kulim in Kedah. 4 women were detained.
Incident started at 11pm when a team from Bukit Aman identified themselves at the house, but were shot upon. The exchange of gunfire resulted in 6 deaths. CID Director said its act of self-defence.
Malaysiakini reported in detail:
Kedah police chief Syed Ismail Syed Azizan said that in the 10.10pm incident, a team of eight policemen, acting on a tip-off, raided a house which was believed to be used as a center for illegal gold smelting.
“When the policemen barged into the house and introduced themselves, six men between the ages of 20 and 50, fired several shots at them, and in defence, the police fired back and the shots hit the six suspects,” he was quoted as saying by Bernama.
He said four women, aged between 21 and 28, who were in the house were detained to assist police investigations.
Syed Ismail said all the suspects killed in the incident were believed to be involved in armed-robbery cases reported in Kedah, Penang, Perak and Selangor, adding that the group’s last heist was in Sitiawan, Perak.
The house served as a place for them to smelt the gold loot obtained from their robberies, he added.
He said the identities of the suspects would be revealed after police had notified their families.
However, he said, three of them were from Kulim, one from Selama in Perak, the other had an address in Johor, while another had no personal documents on him.
The police recovered 2 guns (and this is where my interest piqued). 2 guns but 6 people dead? I suppose one took over the guns when another died?
“A semi-automatic Smith & Wesson 9mm with seven rounds of ammunition and a .38 Revolver with five were recovered from the bodies.
Police (Kedah’s DCP Syed Ismail) also said:
“Neighbours were unaware of their clandestine activities as the house was covered up with zinc fencing. Equipment used to melt their gold loot were also recovered,” he told a press conference on Wednesday.
DCP Syed Ismail said two of the deceased had criminal records, adding that three vehicles, including a BMW said to have been used in the robberies, were also found at the scene.
The deceased have been identified as contract workers R.Elangovan, 38 (or 42?), and L. S. Santana, 34, contractor R. Pannir (Selvam?), 28, crane driver S. Vadivelan, 29, carpenter S. Gurusamy, 50, and lorry attendant R. Dilip Kumar, 20.
This led to a stream of protests from various people like Dr Ramasamy and Thanenthiran. Dr Ramasamy said they were not allowed into the mortuary to view the bodies. Karpal Singh even called for a formation of Royal Commission of Inquiry.
The families claim the dead were innocent and made police reports accompanied by the usual people – Karpal’s son Jagdeep Singh Deo, Seri Delima assemblyman and lawyer R.S.N. Rayer and Padang Serai Member of Parliament N. Gobalakrishnan. No MIC fellas this time. Some of the families’ comments:
The uncle of one of the suspects shot dead on Tuesday alleged that police had acted cruelly.
A. Arasu, 44, uncle to R. Elanggovan, said he believed his nephew was never involved in any robberies.
“Even if he was, police should have arrested him and charged him in court,” Arasu said.
“We feel that it is unfair to kill all of them without giving them the chance to prove their innocence.”
Arasu claimed he was at the scene on Tuesday night after the incident and had requested to be allowed into the house where all six were shot dead.
“Police refused to allow me in,” he said.
A stream of visitors, including relatives and friends of Elanggovan visited his family members at their jewellery shop in Jalan Raya since yesterday morning after news of the shooting broke.
A. Muniammah, 69, the grandmother of another victim D. Kumar, 19, said she was in shock after being told of the incident.
She said Kumar had been living with her since he was a child and she would never believe that he was involved in criminal activities.
“Some people came to our house seven months ago and offered him a job in the jewellery shop and I never thought that he would be dead now,” she said when met at her house in Taman Selasih here.
Kumar’s elder and younger sisters were too distraught to comment.
Now, Gobalakrishnan revealed that one of the dead was still employed in Singapore and returned home recently. He also revealed more info:
Gobalakrishnan, at Parliament lobby yesterday, claimed one of the victims was from a prominent Kedah politician’s family.
“I got lots of calls last night. I called the Kulim OCPD. He told me he did not know why they were shot. He told me Bukit Aman personnel did it.”
He alleged that the police went on a shooting spree and he claimed he knew one of the victims personally.
He also said the following (Malaysiakini):
At a press conference in the Parliament lobby today, PKR’s Padang Serai parliamentarian N Gobalakrishnan said the police were incompetent in tackling the matter because if they had been more competent in carrying out their job, the suspects would have been arrested instead of killed in a shootout.
“I want the police to explain if they had undertaken all alternatives before committing to shoot them down,” said Gobalakrishnan, adding that one of the suspects killed, R Elanngo, was related to MIC Kedah chief V Saravanan, who is vying to contest in the Bukit Selambau state seat by-election.
“I know Elanggo and he was a successful businessman in Kulim. He has a gold business in Kulim town.”
MIC, meanwhile, lamented that it suffers every time police kills an Indian:
Every time the police shot Indian criminals, the MIC suffered, said party secretary-general Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam.
“The community should not blame Barisan Nasional for something done by the police,” he said at Parliament lobby yesterday.
Dr Subramaniam said he was waiting for feedback from the authorities and called on the community to be calm.
Possible Bukit Selambau candidate Saravanan was said to be close relative to one of the victims but he denied it:
Some quarters had claimed one of the gang members was Saravanan’s son-in-law.
“No. Wrong. The person is a relative of my daughter-in-law. I have one son-in-law and he is an engineer with a multinational in Kuala Lumpur.”
Saravanan had earlier visited the family members of the robbery gang at the Sultan Abdul Halim Hospital mortuary.
So, what do you make of it? Sounds fishy especially with the 2 guns angle.
Anyhow, more surprising is the email (received today) below (unverified). It contained some questions related to politics at the end, but I just publish the facts and comments directly related to the case as mentioned by the writer:
Today I tagged along with our Human Rights Activists who have been fighting Police Abuses for a long time – S. Jayathas, S. Surendran, Manickavasagam (MP for Kapar) and M.Manohar(MP for Teluk Intan). to find out what actually transpired when the 6 were killed by the Police in Kulim.
Ever since their killing the other day I have been very bothered by the event. The media shouted out “criminals” – as if that was the foregone truth. The Police had executed all 6 of them as if they were the Prosecutor, Judge and Executioner all in one and utterly above the law. It was not one, not two, it was six and it seems with impunity. Every one had their own view of the episode. But I needed some answers.
At the outset let me say that I am not condoning crimes or criminals, but there are so many questions that this incident raises that we need some good answers, and fast, as this situation seems to be spinning out of control – before the ink dries on one, another seems to happen. Kugan’s case before Prabakaran’s settled, and now the six before Kugan’s case is settled.
We visited the shootout site, the families of 3 of the deceased and spent some time with the neighbour at the shootout site. The picture that emerges is different than what the mainstream media has been putting out. The MSM paints a picture that the Police only returned fire after being shot at and that this turn of events was totally unavoidable and that they were dealing with a bunch of unscrupulous criminals.
Let me detail some of the facts we gathered before commenting on them. The scene of the shooting was in a small town of Karangan some 15km from Kulim. It was in a small house which was being renovated in one of the backroads of Karangan, a little off the main road of the town. The fence around the house was a tall wall made up of corrugated sheet – something you would do to cut off from view what was going on inside.
A very forthcoming neighbour told us that when he returned home from work that rainy night at around 10 or so he was met with a large group of police men in front of his house, who had already packed his family into the prayer room of his house in the event of stray bullets during the impending ambush. He was asked to get in with them. He only heard the frightening shootout that dreadful night from within his prayer room.
The shootout took place at around 10.30, a very noisy and frightening episode, narrated that neighbour. There did not seem to be any attempt by the Police to try to get the people they were seeking, out from the premises, by summoning them out first using hailers or some such device, before the shoot out. The shooting just happened. The neighbour knew nothing more till the bodies of the killed men were removed at somewhere between 4 and 5 am the next morning.
The first of the killed men, the one that the Police probably had a reason to get, the owner of the house where the shootout happened, was shot in the middle of the top of his head, top down it appeared, though his death certificate indicated he died due to shot wounds in his chest. The family of this victim, mentioned he had several more shots on the front side of his body – as if someone shot at him from the front. This individual, we were told by the family had no prior police record.
The second victim that we visited was someone who was actually working in Singapore for a company called SBS (maybe the Singapore Bus Company) who had come back to Kulim for a holiday. He was due to go back shortly and had a return ticket for that. His death certificate also indicated death due to shots in the chest. Apparently he had several shot wounds on the front side of his body also, as if shot from the front. He appeared to be a friend of the first victim. It is not clear from the little information we got that this person was at all a close accomplice or even a participant in any crime that may have been in the works. Of course, I am concluding this with very little information, but these are the facts as we got them from the family. The family was distraught, because this had damaged the standing of the family in the community, having their dead son branded a criminal. This victim also has no past criminal record, we were told by the family.
The third family we visited was that of a young chap of about 20. His family lives in a dilapidated little estate house in Padang Serai. He had seven siblings and it was obvious the family was just existing. This young chap it appears was working for the first victim assisting in the renovation of the house where the shootout happened. The parents did not seem to know much more about what he did. He was obviously not being paid very much, as he had just 2 days before the incident asked one of his family members for 20 ringgits. He had shot wounds on the forehead and it looked like the back of his head was all bloodied as if from an exiting bullet. He was dressed only in a towel at the time of his death. His parents even had difficulty putting together some money to buy him a shirt and a dhoty for his burial. 36 ringgits was all they had. They could not even afford the coffin in which he was ultimately buried. The Police disallowed the victims kin to examine the body when they tried to. The body was all bloodied in the front. This victim also has no past record, we were told.
To say the least, this was a carnage. It appears like we are in Gaza or in Iraq or in Afghanistan or even in SriLanka – the scale and method of killingsuggests nothing short of this. Let me ask, are we in one of these countries or is Malaysia descending there?.
It looks like Indian lives have become very cheap, very cheap in this country – the lives of anjing keeling, yes that’s what it is, the cheap lives of the anjings – that they can be wasted in this manner. Uthaykumar was so right!.
By all of this, I am in no way saying crime is alright. What I am saying is the way the problems of crime are being dealt with. Let me layout some perspectives for you all to consider:
1) What was the need to kill these people? They were not terrorists. They had no previous records. They were not murderers, surely not the mafia. They could have been easily arrested. In fact the first victim regularly stays is just a stone’s throw from the Police Station. Why were they not apprehended? Or why were they not given a chance to come out with their hands up to surrender themselves for arrest – even in war this is done?. Why were they not given this chance?
2) We understand there were a number of sharp shooters from around the country on hand for the job for the Police. This seem to indicate that this was planned kill event.
3) Why was it that the shot wounds were all in the front side of the victims – not any location on the body, but systematically on the front side?
4) One victim was shot on the top of the head, how could that happen in a normal exchange of fire. That seems to suggest some crouching position and a shot into the head, from the top.
5) Why were the victims not shot at on their legs or where they will not be killed but disabled on being shot?
6) Why were the kin of one of the victims denied their right to inspect the body?
7) If it was a shootout between the Police and the victims, only two could have had the guns, as the police produced two guns, why were the shot wounds so systematic in the chest and the heads on all three of the victims? We do not know about the other two victims – but I suspect they will show similarities.
Lots of questions but no answers yet.