KUALA LUMPUR: Two General Operations Force (GOF) personnel were only armed with pistols when they stumbled upon smugglers early Tuesday (Nov 24), which led to the fatal shooting of Corporal Baharuddin Ramli, says Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador.
The Inspector-General of Police said that the two men only had their pistols as it was a fact-gathering mission and that a patrol team would have been armed with rifles.
He explained that normally the team would radio in for back up or return to their post for assistance, but then the shootout broke out.
“Despite dark conditions, they managed to injure their attackers. Corporal Baharuddin, who had been shot, crawled over to Corporal Norihan Tari and told him to get help.
“Corporal Norihan rushed back to their post on his motorcycle and collapsed just as he reached, sounding his horn to get help.
“He is in stable condition despite being shot three times – twice in his stomach. I managed to speak with him before he was taken for an operation, ” he said.
The IGP said that a team of VAT 69 commandos who were in the area was dispatched to the scene to track down the suspects.
“A Thai suspect was found at around 7am and he confessed to being part of the shootout.
“The police also conducted mass arrests of known smuggling group members, and we have identified three Malaysians who were involved.
“The smugglers were transporting ketum leaves and cough medicine prepared by their Malaysian counterparts at the time of the shooting, ” he said, during a special press conference at Bukit Aman on Tuesday (Nov 24).
Six suspects linked to the shooting have been apprehended so far, the IGP confirmed, four of whom were arrested by Thai authorities in the kingdom.
Investigations showed that Thailand smugglers would trade syabu, heroin and other drugs for ketum leaves and cough medicine in return.
On Tuesday morning, a shootout with suspected smugglers occurred at the Malaysia-Thailand border in Perlis.
Corporal Baharuddin died at the scene while Corporal Norihan was badly injured and sent to the Tuanku Fauziah Hospital in Kangar.