13 kidnap suspects arrested, burnt remains believed to be that of an abduction victim found

MOHD SABRAN MD SANI

JOHOR BARU: Police here have rescued a kidnap victim and arrested 13 individuals believed to be involved in the abduction. However, they fear another victim who was also abducted by the same group may have been killed following the discovery of burnt skeletal remains at an oil palm estate near Kampung Panchor, in Pagoh. State CID chief Senior Asst Comm Kamaluddin Kassim said the burnt remains were discovered after police interrogated the suspects, aged between 19 and 39. He said police first received a report from the parents of an 18-year old who said their son had been abducted in Skudai on July 8. He said another case of an abduction was reported on Aug 19 when a man said his 18-year old son had also been kidnapped. The case was reported in Paloh in Kluang. “In both cases a ransom demand was made,” he said, adding a police special task force to investigate the kidnappings was set up. He said police believed both cases involved the same gang and efforts were made to track the group. Kamaluddin said police managed to get a break through it their investigations on Tuesday when four men were arrested at a budget hotel along Jalan Wong Ah Fook here at 11.30am. Following their arrest, police raided a house in Yong Peng in Batu Pahat about 12.30pm and arrested six more suspects. Based on the information gleaned, police raided another house in Pagoh at 11.30pm the same day and arrested two more male suspects. They also managed to rescue one of the victims who had been locked up in one of the rooms. However, police later found out that one of the suspects had escaped to Singapore. Kamaluddin said police immediately contacted their Singapore counterparts and the man was arrested soon after. "Following interrogation of the suspects, we recovered burnt skeletal remains at a dumpsite in Pagoh," he said, adding that a DNA test had been carried out to determine if the remains belonged to the other kidnap victim. All 13 suspects have been remanded until Sept 1 to assist investigations under Section 3 of the Kidnap Act 1961 and Section 302 of the Penal Code for murder. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd