Right name, but wrong crook walks free

SEGAMAT: Was it sheer negligence or something more "sinister"?

That is the poser for police here after an inmate sentenced to prison in connection with a drug-related offence, house break-in and theft was mistakenly released from the lock-up at the district police station.

The incident at 11.30am yesterday happened after a lock-up supervisor received a bail notice for a 22-year-old inmate.

A source said two personnel with the rank of constable and corporal were on duty during the incident.

"Upon receiving the bail notice, one of the supervisors called out the inmate's name. Since there was no response, the supervisor then shouted out the inmate's name listed in the bail notice several times.

"Moments later, an inmate from one of the lock-up cells responded to the call. The inmate was then released," the source told theSun.

The source added upon releasing the inmate, the lock-up supervisor made his rounds and realised one of the inmates was missing.

"The supervisor finally realised he had mistakenly released another inmate, who was sentenced to six months imprisonment on Oct 11 this year. However, the inmate who was initially named in the bail notice was still in his cell," he said.

Police were alerted immediately after the incident and all efforts are being made to secure his arrest, the source added.

It is learnt that investigators tried to contact the suspect's wife and mother but failed to reach them.

It was reported that police have launched Ops Kesan and Ops Tutup to trace and arrest the suspect.

The escaped suspect was identified as Azrulnizam Arif, 39.

Sources said he was wearing an orange T-shirt and purple shorts.

The case is being investigated under Section 223 and 224 of the Penal Code for fleeing from police custody.

Those with information on the suspect can contact Inspector Huzaifah Akma Ishak at 011-27766092 or Segamat district police at 07-9312222, or nearby police stations.

Johor police have been in the news for all the wrong reasons recently, prompting state police chief Commissioner Datuk Mohd Khalil Kader Mohd to say the cases had painted a negative picture of the force.

Mohd Khalil assumed duties as state police chief on Aug 20.

The first incident involved seven policemen from Muar who were caught partying with an alleged gambling den "boss" at a karaoke lounge on Oct 8.

The second incident was that of a policeman from the Segamat patrol unit who was seen seemingly flirting with a woman, believed to be a prostitute, while on duty in a police patrol car on Oct 9.