JOHOR BARU, July 7 — Johor police have arrested three men believed to be behind the robbery and kidnap of a Singaporean family.
Police said they also seized a pump gun with live bullets, two pistols, a Royal Malaysia Police badge, two stolen cars, 14 mobile phones, numerous identification cards, ATM cards and personal belongings of robbery victims.
State police chief DCP Datuk Mohd Mokhtar Mohd Shariff told reporters today that the suspects are believed to be part of an armed gang robbery syndicate and may have been involved in robbing and extorting former Singapore television journalist Rita Zahara Mohd Nazeer on July 1.
The men aged between 33 and 45 were picked up from three houses in Felda Ulu Tebrau about 5am on July 4, he said.
Mokhtar said the suspects had previous criminal records for drugs, robbery, car thefts and burglaries and tested positive for drugs at the time of arrest.
“We are tracing another two men still at large,” he added, saying photo fits of the duo would be released soon.
A Nissan Sunny car, a laptop, a mobile phone and ATM cards belonging to Rita and her family were recovered too, he added.
“The suspects are in remand for seven days until July 10 for armed gang robbery under the Penal Code,” said Mokhtar.
It was previously reported that Rita had stopped her car along Jalan Susur Larkin around 12.45 am on July 1 to buy some fruit, leaving her 19-year-old sister, two children, 11 and six, and maid in the vehicle.
When Rita returned, her car and its occupants were missing. On calling her sister’s mobile phone, a suspect answered and allegedly demanded a ransom.
Her family and maid were released, however, on the same day at a residential area in Ulu Tiram but the suspects made off with the car and valuables estimated at RM200,000.
Commenting on a syndicate purportedly targeting Singaporean visitors, Mokhtar said there were no links established to this case and added that such allegations were unfounded.
He remarked that criminals did not target any particular group based on their origins but struck whenever the opportunity arose.
“The police will continue to ensure Johor is a safe place to live or visit,” he concluded.
Also present during the press conference at the Johor police head quarters today were Rita, her family and Singaporean journalists. — Bernama