1987 Chow Kit shooter Private Adam dies

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Adam Jaafar, better known as Private Adam, died yesterday at the Penang Hospital (HPP) due to a lung infection.

His sister, Hawa, 56, when contacted by Bernama, said her brother died at about 9am while receiving treatment at HPP.

“Before this, my brother was fine, he was healthy except for the occasional fever which is normal…the only thing was, last week he was admitted into hospital and the medical examination showed he had a lung infection,” she said in George Town today.

She said his remains were buried at the Datuk Keramat Muslim Cemetery after zohor prayers. He was 57.

Hawa said the family was saddened by her brother’s death but has accepted it as fate and prayed that his soul be blessed and placed among the pious.

Adam, the eldest of eight siblings, had been a good and caring brother, she added.

In October 1987, Adam, then a 26-year-old soldier, ran amok and went on a shooting spree at Jalan Chow Kit, that left one person dead and several others wounded.

He escaped the death penalty and was sent to Tanjung Rambutan Hospital for 10 years after he was certified to be insane at the time of committing the offence.

Adam, who was then 23 years old, had travelled from his army camp in Ipoh to Kuala Lumpur at a time when the political tension was high.

The next night, he went on a shooting spree in the Chow Kit area that left a civilian dead and several others wounded.

He eventually surrendered, and in the course of his trial, his lawyer argued temporary insanity.

His rampage was allegedly an act of revenge for the death of his younger brother at the hands of the then Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Sultan Iskandar Ibni Almarhum Sultan Ismail of Johor.

Although it has been three decades, the actual cause of why he ran amok has been widely debated.

However, in a book titled Amok at Chow Kit by Syahril A Kadir, Adam recounted that physical and mental torture he underwent at the army camp had led to that fateful night.

Even Hawa had in an interview on April 12, 2018, denied that their younger brother had worked with the late Sultan as a golf caddy or that the family knew the ruler.

She had represented her family to apologise to the Tunku Mahkota of Johor, Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, and the Johor royal family, for making them a subject of slander and ridicule over the past 30 years.

Adam had grown up in extreme poverty and witnessed his sister’s death due to a fire at Lebuh Buckingham, which now houses the Mars building.