Police believe Thai-based group involved in Pastor Koh's abduction (Updated)

KUALA LUMPUR: Police today revealed that a group based in southern Thailand may have been involved in the abduction of Pastor Raymond Koh Keng Joo.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said investigations showed this group has links with the human and drug trafficking syndicate busted in an operation in Kedah and Perak on June 17, in which three suspects were detained and one shot dead.

"Following the detention of the three last month, we believe the same group has links to another group in the southern region of Thailand and police are now cooperating with their counterparts in Thailand," he told a press conference at Bukit Aman police headquarters here today after attending a rank-pinning ceremony.

Khalid did not specify if the Thailand-based group was involved in criminal or terrorist activities.

He said the trio were led by the suspect who was shot dead.

Last month, police shot dead a suspected arms and drugs smuggler at the northern region of the country.

They arrested the three suspects after they found pictures of Koh's house in the mastermind's house.

Khalid further revealed that the police report lodged by activist Peter Chong Fook Meng in Pattaya in April could have links to the abduction as well.

Chong had previously claimed he was abducted and threatened by a group of men before lodging a report there.

"I cannot say with any certainty on that matter," Khalid added when asked if the investigation had any indication as to Koh's fate.

On the morning of Feb 13, the 62-year-old Koh was abducted by a group of masked men less than 100m from a police housing complex in SS4, Kelana Jaya. Video footage from CCTVs in the area showed seven vehicles, including three black four-wheel drive vehicles, forcing his car to a stop in the middle of the road.

The drivers then used their vehicles to box in Koh's car and prevent him from driving off.

Less than a minute later, Koh is apparently overpowered and his car bearing registration plate ST5515D is seen being driven away, with the other abductors following hurriedly.

Meanwhile, Koh's wife Susanna Liew maintained her concerns about learning of developments on her missing husband's case through the media, after police said human traffickers may have played a role in his abduction.

"Like the rest of Malaysia, all I know is what I have read in the media," she said in a statement today.

On a separate matter, Khalid said police will continue to net members of notorious underworld gangs as part of their ongoing follow-up operation.

He said in the latest incident, police detained six individuals in connection with a Molotov cocktail attack on a police station in Kedah.

The six men who were arrested a day after the incident on Saturday, were affiliated to Gang 24.

"They thought their actions were 'macho' but they did not know that they will land in our lock-up," he added. The incident occurred near the gate of the main entrance of the station at about 3.30am.

It is believed the incident could be related to a recent crackdown on gang members in the state.