Police have arrested two suspects over the gruesome murder of an alleged underworld gang leader at a petrol station in Johor Baru.
- Two suspects, aged 19 and 22, arrested, but the man and woman believed not to be the prime suspects
- Victim said to be a moneylender
- Manhunt continues for 4 assailants
- Alleged bounty on victim apparently issued on Nov 18 by rival gang
- Taoist ritual held at crime scene
- Wake shrouded in mystery
Johor police chief Comm Datuk Mohd Khalil Kader Mohd said in a brief statement that the two suspects were detained by a special task force team to aid police in the case.
“We arrested two suspects, aged 19 and 22 years, on Wednesday at around 2.30am to assist with the investigations,” he said.
Mohd Khalil added that there were many fake news stories relating to the incident that had nothing to do with the case and which had caused public anxiety and affected police investigations.
On Sunday, a 44-year-old man, who was known by the name of Ah Chiu, was savagely attacked by four men after getting out of his Volkswagen Polo at the Shell petrol station in Jalan Pelangi to check his tyres.
The brutal attack, which happened at 7.30pm in full view of the public, was recorded by a witness and the clip was widely circulated online.
The footage showed the suspects, in a white BMW bearing false licence plates, trying to pull the victim into their car.
The victim, said to be involved in moneylending, was stabbed after a struggle, causing him to collapse on the ground.
The assailants then ran over the man twice in their car.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said on Tuesday that a feud between two triads was the cause of the savage murder.
He said police had identified the four assailants and that a manhunt has been launched to nab the suspects.
According to the Malay Mail, the arrests are the first by police since the incident occurred, however, the newspaper understands that the man and the woman are not the prime suspects in the case.
Meanwhile, the Chinese media reported a bounty placed on the victim was believed to have been issued on Nov 18 by a rival gang.
The poster of the bounty, which was written in Mandarin, featured a picture of the man and a mobile phone number. However, a call to the number revealed that it was no longer in service.
It was claimed that there was a reward of RM23,888 for information on the man and a reward of RM32,888 if he was brought in.
Yesterday, the victim’s Vietnamese partner along with another woman and two Taoist monks from the Nirvana Memorial Centre went to the petrol station to perform a brief Taoist ritual at the site of the mafia-style murder.
The Vietnamese woman, garbed in a white hood and a face mask, was seen weeping during the ritual as she knelt down on the very same spot the victim had been killed.
The other woman, believed to be a local, was also the friend who accompanied the Vietnamese woman to collect the man’s body at the Sultan Ismail Hospital’s mortuary on Monday.
The four arrived in a blue Proton Saga at around 4.30pm and spent about 45 minutes at the location before leaving.
A team of police personnel and the media were present at the crime scene during the ceremony which also drew a crowd of curious onlookers, many of whom recorded the ritual on their mobile phones.
The prayer area was cordoned with police tape.
The Taoist ceremony performed is believed to be for appeasing “malignant spirits”.
Taoists believe that such rituals are important as the souls of those who die tragically, such as in suicide and murder cases, would wander aimlessly after the incident and they need to be called back to where they belong to ensure the spirits are at peace.
Meanwhile, several members of the victim’s family were seen busy preparing for the wake at the Nirvana Memorial Centre in Jalan Gelang Patah-Skudai yesterday morning.
Media personnel were barred from approaching the wake area.
It was learnt that the remains of the victim would be buried at a memorial park in Melaka on Thursday.
Shrouded in mystery, the wake was low key and tightly managed.
Members of the media, who were trying to establish the identity of the deceased, failed to do so as the monitor displaying the room number where the victim’s wake is being held, which would usually have the deceased’s name, was kept blank.
When pressed for details of the victim, the person manning the counter said the family of the deceased had requested for the name of the deceased to be kept private.
Reporters who were waiting at the lobby were also startled when a man in his 30s suddenly marched towards the media and began snapping pictures of them using his mobile phone.
The man, believed to be a relative to the victim, then strode back to the wake area.
The deceased’s Vietnamese partner was seen being escorted by several young women each time she moved about.
Hardly anyone was present at the wake, with the tables and chairs for visitors in front of the alter mostly empty.
The mystery deepened as no picture of the deceased was placed on the open casket.
Around 6pm, several superbikes were seen in front of the entrance near the guardhouse but they soon left.
A short while later when the media were leaving, several luxury cars were seen entering the Nirvana Memorial Centre. However, it could not be verified if they were associated with the deceased.