Pastor Koh’s wife shocked at police action

16th Jan 2018

KUALA LUMPUR: The wife of Pastor Raymond Koh today expressed shock that the police had charged someone they previously said was not involved in her husband’s abduction, which in turn put a halt to the public inquiry on the matter.

“It is very shocking for us as the family as we had no idea that this was going to happen,” Susanna Liew said at a press conference.

“Our hope when we came to the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) was to find some answers to the many questions we had about his abduction.

“We are very disappointed that our hope to find answers and exercise our human rights for truth and justice is being denied.

“We hope that there will be justice, and although we still have hope in the system, I’m afraid that today this hope has been crushed.”

Under Section 12 of the Suhakam Act, an inquiry shall not proceed if the subject matter is part of a court proceeding.

Today, Suhakam commissioner and former Court of Appeal judge Mah Weng Kwai said he had been told by Inspector-General of Police Mohamad Fuzi Harun to stop the inquiry as police had charged a suspect in court over Koh’s abduction.

Mah told the inquiry that Lam Chang Nam, who was arrested on Jan 12, was charged with kidnapping in a Petaling Jaya court yesterday. However, he had no other details about the outcome of the case.

It was revealed later in the inquiry that Lam, who worked as a part-time Uber driver, had claimed trial in March last year to a charge of extorting Koh’s son, Jonathan Koh Szu Hao, of RM30,000 for the purpose of releasing his father.

Expressing her disappointment, Liew said she would now seek advice from her lawyers on how to proceed.

Koh’s family lawyers also reminded the inquiry that Selangor Criminal Investigation Department (CID) chief SAC Fadzil Ahmat, who led the special task force into Koh’s disappearance, had cleared Lam of kidnapping the pastor last year.

Lawyer Gurdial Singh Nijar questioned the move to charge someone whom the police had clearly stated was not involved in the kidnapping.

“Fadzil, who was the eleventh witness in the inquiry, publicly declared that Lam had nothing to do with kidnapping Pastor Koh.

“Fadzil, who is also the head of the task force looking into the abduction of Koh, said in March last year that their investigations showed Lam was not involved in the abduction.

“Now suddenly as we approach the end of the inquiry, and we have three crucial witnesses lined up for today that would cast a great deal of light on the case, they say they have charged someone,” he said at the press conference.

“The public might ask what is the game plan of the police at this late hour,” he said, adding that it could be seen as a deliberate attempt to derail the conclusion of the inquiry.

“The police were told in other inquiries that they have to attend these inquiries as they are public officers and they need to abide by the commission’s rulings.

“However, today they chose to be absent, and that is very unfortunate. It might not be a healthy thing for the police to be seen in this light.”

When asked if the inquiry could still continue, Gurdial said they would have to look at what to follow up with.

“This is what we will submit to the commission, to follow up to this.

“We can’t say what will happen in the future, so we have to look closely at the provisions.

“This is the first time this has happened at an inquiry. We have to look at what ought to be the follow-up positions.”

He added however that the inquiries into the disappearance of activist Amri Che Mat, and Pastor Joshua Hilmy and his wife Ruth, would continue.

“Let’s hope that there are no surprises in those inquiries as well.”

Koh, 63, was abducted from his car by a group of more than 10 men in a convoy of vehicles on Feb 13 last year.

CCTV footage showed at least three black SUVs were involved in the abduction. Many speculated that his abduction might have been connected to his alleged attempts to spread Christianity, although his family has dismissed such claims.

Amri, 44, who co-founded charity organisation Perlis Hope, has been missing since Nov 24, 2016.

His wife, Norhayati Ariffin, said witnesses saw five vehicles blocking the path of Amri’s car before he was whisked away, just 550 metres from their home in Bukit Chabang, Perlis.

Joshua and his wife, Ruth, meanwhile, were last seen on Nov 30, 2016. A police report was lodged in Klang but the case was referred to the Petaling Jaya police as the complainant said the missing persons lived in Kampung Tunku.

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