Cops No Clue How Pastor’s Photos Ended up in Trafficker’s Home

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A witness testifying in the Suhakam inquiry into missing persons yesterday said police removed mention of Pastor Raymond Koh’s photographs found in a smuggler’s safehouse during a police raid at the Thai border last June.

Bukit Aman CID deputy director Huzir Mohamed testified before the three Suhakam commissioners at its HQ in Menara TH Perdana that police chose not to include the pictures in a public statement issued then on the police raid.

Last June, former inspector-general of police Khalid Abu Bakar said photographs relating to the missing pastor were found in a home in Perak when police were probing a drug and firearm-smuggling syndicate near the Thai border.

Khalid mentioned this again when he testified at the Suhakam inquiry last week, saying photos of the pastor and the licence plate of his car were found at the safehouse.

However, these items were not listed in a police press statement released on June 18 after the raid, which Huzir was part of. Other items such as pipe bombs and bullets seized by the police were listed.

Replying to a question by Koh’s family lawyer Jerald Gomez on why this was so and whether Khalid was wrong, Huzir said police chose not to divulge the information to the public because they were concerned their case would be jeopardised.

“We didn’t mention it in the statement because we were also scared for Koh’s safety,” Huzir said.

Earlier, he testified that he had been called to assist in a bomb detonation at the Pengkalan Hulu safehouse where Koh’s photographs were found, but did not go inside the house and did not see the pictures.

Suhakam commissioner Mah Weng Kwai asked Huzir how the photos ended up in the house of a suspect who had been shot dead earlier.

“Is there any evidence to show how the pictures ended up in the dead suspect’s home? How did they get there?”

“How the pictures got there? Nobody can answer that. Not even the suspect’s wife,” Huzir said.

When asked whether it was odd that Koh’s pictures were found so far from home near the Thai border, Huzir said it was possible the pastor was taken across to Thailand.

Questioned again by Gomez if there was any way to prove the pictures had been found in the house during the raid in Perak, Huzir said nobody could answer that question.

He, however, said all the items seized had been recorded by the police that day.

Mah then asked Huzir to produce the list of items seized by the police during the raid when the inquiry reconvenes in October. Huzir said he would do that.

On June 17 last year, a suspected drug smuggler and human trafficker was shot dead near Kg Weng in Ulu Lenggong, Kedah. Police also arrested three of the suspect’s accomplices.

Further investigations led police to the dead man’s house, where they found the photographs of Koh.

Huzir said police questioned all the suspects and found that they were not linked to Koh’s case.

He said the trio were not charged with any crime but released on bail.

Denying claims by former witnesses that he was in charge of coordinating the police’s joint investigations in the cases involving the disappearances of pastor Joshua Hilmy and his wife Ruth, and activist Amri Che Mat, Huzir said he was only briefly involved in the Amri case and not with the Koh case.

However, he said he had been briefed on all three cases prior to Suhakam’s inquiry being convened.

Joshua, Ruth and Amri were last seen in November 2016 and are believed by the police to have been abducted by the same people who kidnapped Koh in 2017.

Koh’s abduction on Feb 13 last year was caught on closed-circuit TV cameras, showing several men in balaclavas using black SUVs to block his Honda Accord in broad daylight in Kelana Jaya.

He has not been seen since.

Many say that Koh’s abduction might have been connected to his alleged attempts to spread Christianity but his family has dismissed this as mere speculation.

The police arrested a 31-year-old man earlier this year and charged him with kidnapping Koh.

The charge led to a halt in Suhakam’s inquiry for several weeks.

Yesterday was the 17th day of the inquest into Koh’s disappearance.

The inquest continues on Oct 10.

At the end of the inquest, the Suhakam commissioners will consider, among others, whether all three are cases of enforced or involuntary disappearance.

They will then present their findings and recommendations to Parliament.