COMMENT The police are doing their best to look for Pastor Raymond Koh Keng Joo, who has been missing for a month.
There is no doubt about it, since the investigation has been taken up by Selangor Criminal Investigations Department chief Fadzil Ahmat, the man who was in the thick of the investigation into the assassination of North Korean Kim Jong-nam.
While Jong-nam’s murder was solved within less than two weeks, Koh’s mysterious disappearance has become the subject of much speculation, especially since no fresh lead has been forthcoming despite the family and friends offering RM100,000 for information leading to the rescue of Koh.
The recent arrest of a man from Ampang appears more like a red herring to me; he came across as someone taking advantage of the family’s situation to ask for a ransom of RM30,000. It is learnt that the man is to be charged with extortion.
The argument is simple - imagine if he were one of the abductors, that amount of money divided by 15 operatives would not be worth the effort to abduct a 62-year-old man.
However, our hopes are bolstered because we believe that the police will be able to solve the case soon, even as fresh leads are being given by concerned members of the public. We hope that eventually this will lead to the rescue of the missing pastor.
The mysterious abduction which took place on Feb 13 has attracted a lot of international attention. According to a friend, the news has also appeared in a Dutch newspaper. On Google search, a website, Global Incident Map, has identified the incident in the following words:
“The abduction of pastor Raymond Koh Keng Joo took only 40 seconds and was executed with military-like precision, according to a video going viral on social media. Footage shows the operation to abduct him from his car involved the use of two black 4WD trucks, a black SUV (sports utility vehicle), two white sedans and two motorcycles.”
On March 8, the World Council of Churches office based in Geneva has already written an open letter to Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak urging “an intensification of the investigation into the abduction of Pastor Koh to ascertain his whereabouts, and ensure his immediate release and return to his family.”
In the words of Koh’s wife, Susanna Liew, the arrest of the alleged kidnapper “should not distract our attention away from the real abductors and their accomplices or discourage genuine informers to reach out to us.”
The World Council of Churches has expressed its concern that the abduction has been “conducted in a cruel and organised manner and has been equated to an act of terror”.
Candlelight vigils have been held in public places and churches, with the biggest numbers in Sibu with some 2,000 people and in Kuching. Despite the rain, some 1,200 people attended the candlelight vigil. In Shah Alam, over 300 people attended.
The vigils were also held in George Town, Seremban and Johor Baru, and attended by people of different races and religious backgrounds.
For the first time, the Church in both East and West Malaysia is united over the abduction of Pastor Koh, for when one suffers, all suffer together. In particular, the response this time from East Malaysians is encouraging as their hearts are poured out to Koh’s family members.
Liew was quoted as saying, “In the month since he was taken away from us, my children and I have swung between feelings of numbness, despair, hope, sadness, fear and anger. From this comes a frustration that there has been no significant breakthroughs in efforts to find my husband...”