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Reign of terror that ended in shootout

With 16 murders to his name, the country’s most callous killer outdid the atrocities of criminals before and after his time

04 Dec 2020 / 18:15 H.

HE was arguably the most brutal killer Malaysia had ever seen.

With at least 16 murders to his name, the reign of terror of P. Kalimuthu (pix), better known as Bentong Kali, in the early 90s outdid the atrocities of criminals before and after his time.

Easily provoked, those who stepped on his toes were either killed or seriously maimed by gunshots or the blade of a knife.

It was a show-of-power by him to command respect and build a reputation as the most feared thug in the country.

He was elated when eyes looked away and heads bowed in fear when he passed those who knew who he was and what he was capable of.

Born in 1961 in Bentong, Pahang, he was the eighth child out of 11 siblings born to a poor family.

At age 13, he dropped out of school.

Coming from a large family, there was little parental supervision and Kalimuthu was left to his own devices.

It began with petty crimes during his teenage years, where he had several run-ins with the law and was imprisoned.

But jail did not make him repent.

Instead, Kalimuthu got involved deeper in crime when he began dabbling in underworld activities.

He was fully immersed in it some years later upon coming to Kuala Lumpur, hanging out at Jalan Klang Lama most of the time.

In the years preceding the peak of his crime spree in the early 90s, he was involved in drug dealing, extortion and other gangland activities, nonchalantly going in and out of prison.

Kalimuthu had also acquired and carried firearms.

Then, after yet another run-in with the law for drug trafficking, he was banished for two years but escaped and laid low from the law.

When he re-emerged to resume his old ways on a larger scale, he became twice as beastly.

Those who betrayed, belittled or challenged him were not treated kindly.

Violence escalated and Kalimuthu went on a killing spree, making him highly wanted by both Kuala Lumpur and Selangor police.

He began hiding, constantly moving and being extremely cautious of his surroundings when he stepped out of his safe zone.

In mid-1993, aged 32, he moved into a flat in Kajang, where he lived with his girlfriend and went on with his drug trafficking activities.

All was going smoothly for Kalimuthu until he had a tiff with a group of men, who also lived at the flats.

After shooting one of them dead, he escaped and went into hiding.

However, vengeance was on his mind and it took him back to the flats weeks later, as he was bent on killing all of them.

When one of the men threw a birthday party, he turned up uninvited at the event with his henchman, Gunalan@Billiard, before opening fire at the crowd, killing four of his targets and injuring two others.

With over 100 police personnel tasked to hunt him down, he pulled off a Houdini and was nowhere to be found.

Kalimuthu even began taunting the police, making calls to its top brass and challenging them to find him.

On June 29, 1993, at about 6am, Kalimuthu murdered his last victim at Jalan Klang Lama, a food stall owner in his 60s, purportedly after the victim chided him for urinating next to his stall.

On the same day, police detectives trailing him learnt the fugitive had moved into a two-storey house in Medan Damansara with Gunalan and another of his henchmen, T. Gunasegaran@Raub Guna.

Within the next hour, a large police team, including snipers and members of the federal Special Action Unit, took positions around Kalimuthu’s hideout.

A shootout ensued and Kalimuthu was killed in a hail of bullets when he tried to escape by climbing through the roof of the house.

Both his henchmen were also killed in the ambush.

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