MALACCA - Three children and two women were rescued after being held captive for over seven hours at Taman Duyong Indah, here on Sunday.
The drama unfolded at about 7.15pm Saturday when a man, armed with a parang, held his three daughters, aged three to nine, and the women captive inside the house.
The unemployed man, in his 30s, had accused the women - his wife and mother - of using black magic on him and started assaulting the wife.
Neighbours who heard the commotion and cries for help alerted the police when they failed to open the door of the terrace house.
Malacca police's special investigation division arrived later and set up positions around the house as deputy state police chief Senior Asst Comm Mohd Shaharizan Che Mat Din and Melaka Tengah OCPD Asst Comm Shaikh Abdul Adzis Shaikh Abdullah set out to talk to the man.
SAC Mohd Shaharizan, who had experience in managing the 2011 Muar kindergarten hostage crisis, was tasked with talking directly with the man.
It was not until 2.15am that a loud scream was heard followed by applause. The officers walked out of the house with the thumbs-up signal.
Minutes later, a 40-year-old woman, believed to be the man's wife, was wheeled into an ambulance with injuries on her face and eyes.
The three children and the man's 60-year-old mother, all with minor injuries, came out later and were rushed to the Malacca Hospital.
State police chief Deputy Comm Datuk Chuah Ghee Lye said they were faced with a suicidal man.
"We were concerned about the safety of the children and the two women as the parang-wielding man was erratic and could inflict injuries if the negotiation went awry," he told reporters later.
DCP Chuah said the man had assaulted his second wife after accusing her and her mother of casting a spell on him. He wanted the duo to confess.
"There was no ransom sought, he just wanted his wife and her mother to confess to the supposed black magic he thought they had used on him," he said.
SAC Mohd Shaharizan revealed that he used religion to pacify the man to lay down his weapon and surrender but that didn't work.
"I noticed during the negotiation, the man was mumbling weird chants and knew this was a non-negotiable case," he said.
He revealed that the negotiations took a turn when the man received a call telling him that the police were armed with taser guns. The man had demanded the police hand over the gun to him.
He said while the negotiations were going on, the police's special squad managed to make their way into the house and secure all the victims.
SAC Mohd Shaharizan said the man was more aggressive towards his wife and second daughter and only wanted to harm them.
Police later found the youngest daughter hiding inside a closet and it took sometime to persuade her to come out after the drama was over.
DCP Chuah said police were checking the unemployed man's background to determine whether he was a drug-addict or had other criminal records.
Police were also checking on the message the man received about police equipped with taser guns.