Cops identify mastermind in Johor kidnap-murder

Ben Tan
Johor police chief Datuk Mohd Khalil Kader Mohd (centre) flanked by his deputy Datuk Mohd Kamarudin Md Din and Johor criminal investigations department (CID) chief Kamaluddin Kassim. — Picture by Ben Tan

JOHOR BARU, Aug 23 — Police have identified the mastermind involved in the kidnap-cum-murder case in Panchor, Muar involving a teenager by a Johor-based kidnapping syndicate.

The man, a 33-year-old Johor native, was arrested together with the arrest of 13 of their gang members in the state on Monday and Tuesday.

A police source said the suspect was a known and wanted criminal with previous records for criminal intimidation, extortion, robbery, drug abuse and also kidnapping.

“The suspect was linked to a kidnapping case in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur in 2011 and also another in Kulai, Johor back in 2013.

“The suspect is based in Yong Peng in Johor and was known among several criminal gang members in the state,” said the source to Malay Mail today.

Yesterday, it was reported that police arrested 13 suspects, aged between 19 and 39, who were believed to be involved in two separate kidnappings and a murder case in Johor recently.

Earlier, an 18-year-old victim was freed by a team from the state police serious crimes division (D9) following the follow-up arrests of the suspects.

It was understood that the deceased has been identified as 18-year-old B. Satishwaran.

All the suspects have since been remanded until September 1 to facilitate investigations.

Based on questioning, the source said the state police’s serious crimes division has built up a case and believe that the suspect knew the deceased and was instrumental in initiating the abductions and kidnapping.

“Initial investigations also revealed that the main suspect and a 19-year-old accomplice may have been involved with dumping the victim’s remains at a garbage burning area near the Pagoh University Hub in Panchor, Muar.

“Reconstruction of the events based on investigations revealed that the deceased may have been kept alive for past 10 days after he was abducted on July 18.

“Investigators are not ruling out the possibility that the deceased may have been beaten or tortured before he died and his body dumped,” said the source, adding that police are still looking at various other angles to the case as there was another teenager kidnapped by the syndicate about a month later.

Meanwhile, Johor criminal investigations department (CID) chief Senior Assistant Commissioner Kamaluddin Kassim confirmed that the 33-year-old man who was in their custody was the suspected mastermind.

“Police believe that the suspect can shed light on the case,” he told Malay Mail when contacted today.

Kamaluddin said investigations into the case were still ongoing as police have yet to positively identify the remains, pending the results of the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) test and forensics report.

The case has been investigated under Section 3 of the Kidnapping Act 1961 for kidnapping and Section 302 of the Penal Code for murder, which carries the mandatory death penalty upon conviction.

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