The Malaysian authorities have charged a 31-year old man with kidnapping a Christian pastor, in a surprising turn in the closely watched case after police had said for months they had no strong leads on his abductors.
The charge against part-time Uber driver Lam Chang Nam forced the Malaysia Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) yesterday to abruptly stop an ongoing public inquiry into the disappearance of pastor Raymond Koh, 62, who has been missing since Feb 13 last year.
The inquiry, which had gone on for 11 days, revealed details of the kidnapping, which witnesses said appeared to be executed in minutes with military-like precision. Closed-circuit TV camera footage believed to be from the scene of the incident showed half a dozen men in balaclavas using black SUVs to block Mr Koh’s car on a public road in Petaling Jaya in broad daylight.
Suhakam chief Mah Weng Kwai told reporters yesterday that the hearing was halted after the commission received a letter from Malaysia’s police chief Mohamad Fuzi Harun saying a case on the abduction was pending in court.
Lam was originally charged with extorting in March last year RM30,000 (S$10,000) from Mr Koh’s son, Jonathan Koh Szu Hao, 33, to release his father. But on Monday, he was charged with kidnap.
According to a family spokesman, the police did not inform the Koh family about this new kidnapping charge: “They only found out about it at the inquiry.”
SOURCE: Nadirah H. Rodzi