Slain men's funerals cause jam

MALAYSIA - The funeral procession for three slain Gang 04 members brought traffic in part of George Town, Penang, to a standstill on Tuesday.

Gang members and friends accompanied the hearses of N. Rakan, 25, M. Suresh, 25, and R. Ramesh, 27, from Jalan Yeap Chor Ee to the Batu Gantong crematorium, The Star reported.

Along the way, they caused a commotion by lighting firecrackers and revving motorbike engines.

This episode came after friends and relatives of the five men killed in a police raid at Sungai Nibong caused a ruckus at the mortuary on Monday.

Family members maintained that they did not know that those killed belonged to a gang, the New Straits Times reported.

Some threw helmets into the mortuary compound and made accusations about the police being brutal and trigger-happy.

One of them, Mr S. Nadarajah, said he would lodge a report against the police over the incident, the New Straits Times reported.

He said: "I am not accepting the accusation that my relative was linked to the underworld.

"How can they just shoot a person without bringing him to court? This is unacceptable."

Mr Nadarajah and family members of the dead men said they would not claim their bodies and demanded another autopsy to be carried out, the New Straits Times reported.

Echoing the family members, lawyer and Democratic Action Party Malaysia assemblyman R.S.N. Rayer described the shoot-out as a "brutal slaying".

He said: "The police should not have taken the law into their own hands. The five men should have been detained and charged in court over their alleged wrongdoings.

"I was shocked as some relatives of the deceased claimed the bodies had more than one gunshot wound in the head."

Mr Rayer also insisted that Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar explain the deaths of two of the dead men who did not have a criminal record.

Followed procedure

Meanwhile, Penang police insisted that its officers had followed the standard operating procedure (SOP) during the raid, Bernama reported.

Said Penang police chief Abdul Rahim Hanafi: "It is not true that the police fired more than 30 shots at the suspects without identifying themselves. We identified ourselves before entering the apartment and were shot at.

"We kept to the SOP and only fired a number of shots which hit them, and not as alleged by them (the family members)."

Mr Abdul Rahim also brushed off claims that Gang 04 would seek revenge for the deaths of its members. "We do not have any information on that.

I believe they are just rumours. However, police will take precautionary measures," he maintained.

The men killed in the pre-dawn shoot-out on Monday were allegedly involved in 10 murder cases in Penang, Kedah and Negeri Sembilan.

The police also found three pistols in the apartment where the raid took place. The crackdown comes after a wave of shootings around Malaysia, which killed a prominent banker and injured the chief of a crime watchdog.

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