Bodies of five men found floating in Kuala Ketil (Updated)

ALOR STAR: The bodies of five men, who apparently tried to escape from a police raid, were found floating separately in Sungai Muda in Kampung Padang Bukit Taman Permai, Kuala Ketil near Baling, about 80km from here, between 11.35am and 12.45pm today.

Baling district police chief Supt Shariffudin Yusof said all five victims were believed to be involved in illegal cockfight activities and drowned during their bid to escape from a police raid conducted on Feb 16.

"The incident happened during a police raid at the oil palm estate and there is a possibility those who had drowned were trying to evade arrest by jumping into the river," he said.

The bodies of Mat Zuki Mat Yatim, 46, from Kulim, Mohd Zhelan Md Noh, 49, from Kuala Ketil, Mohd Hezry Mohd Zubir from Tasek Gelugor, Lim Khoon Looi, 50, and another unidentified victim have been sent to Hospital Sultanah Bahiyah here for post-mortem.

During the operation codenamed "Op Limau", police arrested 76 men believed to be involved in illegal cockfight gambling and seized almost RM140,000.

"When the team wanted to apprehend the gamblers, they suddenly fled. The team managed to nab about 30 people under the main gambling camp.

"After bringing the situation under control, the team was mobilised to conduct a search around the area and successfully nabbed 46 more people, including three who were injured," Shariffudin said.

He added the raid was conducted in an oil palm plantation about 3km from the main road.

Two of the 76 men suffered injuries after they fell down a cliff near a river while attempting to escape.

Police also seized 41 cockerels and a variety of equipment used in the activity.

At the time of writing, police and Baling Fire and Rescue Department were still searching the area to look for other possible victims who might have drowned.