Shootout puzzle: Families ask how well-off UK resident could be mistaken as criminal

18 Sep 2019 / 12:11 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: A financially well-off permanent resident of the United Kingdom was among three men shot dead by police on suspicion of being involved in criminal activities. His wife is missing. Now the families want answers.

It began last Saturday evening when policemen spotted a car “moving suspiciously” in Rawang, according to Selangor police chief Comm Datuk Noor Azam Jamaludin.

He said the driver defied orders to pull over and this led to a chase.

“Subsequently, the car crashed and gunshots rang out. The policemen had to return fire,” Noor Azam said.

“We were acting according to the situation.”

He said the police later found three men in the car.

“There was no woman among them,” he said.

Those killed were identified as Janarthanan Vijayaratnam, 40, a Sri Lankan who was a permanent resident in the United Kingdom, his brother-in-law Thavaselvan Govindasamy, 31, and a friend, Maghendran Santhirasegaran, 23.

Janarthanan’s wife, a Malaysian identified as Moganambal Govindasamy, 35, who was said to be with the three men during the shootout, is missing.

Moganambal and Thavaselvan are siblings.

Janarthanan and Moganambal arrived in Malaysia on Aug 27 with their three children to visit their family.

Janarthanan, Thavaselvan, Maghendran and Moganambal left for a meal in Serdang on Saturday evening, the night of the incident.

Yesterday, the family took the matter to the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) and demanded answers from the police.

Lawyer Sivahnanthan Ragava, who represented the family, told a press conference yesterday that there were contradictions in the statements made by the police.

“The Selangor police chief said they believed the men were responsible for a string of house break-ins. But Janarthanan is an oil and gas company manager. They were financially well-to-do. So how could they be members of a criminal gang?”

Suhakam commissioner Gerald Joseph said there were questions that needed to be answered and that the matter would be thoroughly investigated.

He added that Suhakam would get both sides of the story and would obtain more details of the incident from the police.

“We will also interview the forensic doctors who carried out the post-mortems. The families should be allowed access to the full report and we hope the police will speed up their investigations.”

He also said police must expedite efforts to find Moganambal.

On allegations of high-handedness by the police, Noor Azam said there was a need to ascertain the identities of the men via the National Registration Department (NRD) before he could comment further.

He said this could not be done earlier because the NRD was closed for the long weekend.

“The families of the deceased may have identified them but we will still need official confirmation,” he told theSun when contacted.

Noor Azam said police had stepped up surveillance in response to a steep surge in house break-ins and robberies since May, especially in areas such as Rawang, Klang and Banting.

“If we are suspicious, we will stop vehicles to check. There is no need to fear or attempt to escape if one has nothing to hide,” he added.

email blast