Cops hunt for more suspects

GEORGE TOWN - State police have identified the suspects linked to the remaining 10 shooting cases in Penang and will "move in due time", said police chief Senior Deputy Comm Datuk Abdul Rahim Hanafi.

SDCP Abdul Rahim said they were confident of solving the remaining cases following Monday's fatal shootout with five men, believed to be members of the notorious Gang 04 and responsible for nine of the 19 shootings this year.

"We have solved nine cases. We will settle the remaining 10 cases in due time. These people are on the move," he said, adding that it was only "a matter of time" before these suspects were caught.

Police, he said, also followed standard operating procedures (SOP) during the storming of the apartment in Sungai Nibong where the five men lived.

"The police officers had identified themselves before entering the apartment and they were shot at by the men.

"It is not true that we fired more than 30 shots at the suspects. We kept to the SOP and only a few shots were fired," he told reporters after meeting police personnel on duty during Ops Selamat III at the state police contingent headquarters here yesterday.

He was commenting on complaints by family members that the police could have just fired warning shots at the men who were allegedly sleeping in their rooms.

The dead - J. Gobinath, 31, R. Ramesh, 27, N. Rakan, 25, M. Suresh, 25, and M. Gobinath, 21 - were said to be involved in at least seven murders and two attempted murder cases in the state this year.

They were also believed to be involved in two murder cases in Lunas and Kulim in Kedah and another in Rahang, Negri Sembilan.

SDCP Abdul Rahim said the police had received four reports from family members over the shootout, adding that they had the right to lodge them.

"We will continue with our probe. We are investigating the incident under Section 307 of the Penal Code for attempted killing of the policemen who stormed the apartment and Section 8 of the Firearms Act 1971 (Increased Penalty)," he said.

On rumours that members of the Gang 04 would seek revenge against police, SDCP Abdul Rahim said: "We will fight back if they retaliate."