BINTULU - Four robbers were shot dead at an oil palm plantation along the Bintulu-Miri section of the Pan Borneo highway.
The 1am shooting incident yesterday followed a car chase from Bintulu town involving the four men and three police teams which were tracking them.
Sarawak Police Commissioner Datuk Seri Muhammad Sabtu Osman confirmed the shooting of the four men.
He said the D9 police teams saw the four behaving suspiciously in Bintulu town but they sped off when the teams approached them.
A chase ensued and the car veered off the road while trying to escape into the oil palm plantation 42km from Bintulu town, he said.
Comm Sabtu said the men fired at the police and two of them tried to escape but when cornered, they attacked the policemen with a parang and sickle.
He added that the police had to shoot them in self-defence.
The other two were found shot dead inside the car and police recovered a sawn-off shotgun and various items believed to be from earlier robberies, he added.
He said the police were still trying to ascertain their identity and nationalities since no personal documents were found on them at the scene of the shooting.
Comm Sabtu said police had been tracking the group for the past month.
He added that there were 28 cases of armed robberies in Bintulu involving four to five masked gunmen last year.
State assemblyman for Kidurong, Chiew Ching Sing, said the shooting happened in his constituency and the matter was of public interest as it involved a fatal shooting.
He said the police must disclose who these armed robbers were and whether Malaysians were involved.