Police followed SOP during raid on suspected gang members

GEORGE TOWN - Police yesterday said the elite police team involved in the gun battle with five suspected gang members in Pantai Jerejak had followed standard operating procedures.

State police chief Datuk Abdul Rahim Hanafi refuted claims made in some news portals that the raiding team had used excessive force in carrying out their mission.

"Only a few shots were fired when we took them down."

Rahim was supporting Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar's statement that only a few shots were fired during the gun battle with the gang members who were believed to have been responsible for at least 10 murders in Kedah, Penang and Negri Sembilan.

Rahim confirmed that four police reports were lodged by family members of the slain men who had demanded further investigations into the deaths. He declined to elaborate.

He said police had also obtained fresh leads in 10 unsolved firearms cases in Penang.

"We have also identified the suspects linked to the cases and it is just a matter of time before we bring them in."

He also assured that public order and peace would always be maintained.

"I'm asking all Penangites to trust the police.

"I assure them that Penang will be peaceful and calm and I will act according to the law."

The five gang members, believed to have also been guns for hire, were shot dead in an apartment on the 11th floor of a 15-storey serviced apartment complex about 4.30am on Monday.

They were linked to at least 10 murders and two attempted murders, including on rival gang members, in the three states.

The police raiding party was fired upon when entering the apartment. All five gang members were shot dead and police recovered two pistols and a revolver.

In Butterworth, some 200 people thronged the Jalan Siram crematorium for the funerals of J. Gobinath and M. Gobinath, two of the gang members.

Those present, comprised families and relatives as well as friends of the duo who had gathered around 4pm at the crematorium. J. Gobinath's body arrived first in a silver Mercedes Benz hearse.

Leading the hearse was a lorry with a small band of musicians performing on top of the vehicle.

The lorry bore a large poster which carried the words "Gobi Perai 04", a nickname of the 31-year-old from Butterworth.

Shortly later, another hearse carrying the body of M. Gobinath, 21, arrived and it was given a more elaborate reception with loud firecrackers being let off.

The hearse also carried his picture with the words "King Of the Ring".

Many among the motorcyclists and motorists, who accompanied the hearse, waved white flags bearing Swastika-like symbols. The procession caused major traffic congestion along the road and the nearby trunk road.

Conspicuously missing were uniformed policemen throughout the procession, which proceeded without any untoward incident despite the traffic disruption.

The father of M. Suresh, 25, one of the suspected gang members shot, has vowed to take legal action against the police. R. Murugasen, 53, burst into tears repeatedly at his quarters at the Teachers' Training Institute, off Jalan Tuanku Kudin, near Lebuhraya Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu here yesterday.

He claimed there was no basis for the police to fire at Suresh, a 25-year-old scrap metal dealer.

"My son was never involved in any secret society. He was on holiday in Langkawi with his friends when a man was shot dead in Jalan Anson on the first day of Hari Raya.

"Suresh only came back to Penang a day before the shoot-out and he could not be involved in three shootings over two days here. "I will sue the policemen responsible for my son's death."

Murugasen, his wife, R. Parimala, and relatives and friends performed prayers at their home before the cortege left for the Batu Gantung crematorium here.

The bodies of the remaining two men -- R. Ramesh, 27, and N. Rakan, 25 -- were also cremated at the same place.