GEORGE TOWN, July 14 — A jobless 45-year-old whose features matched those of a man caught on CCTV defiling a Hindu temple in Paya Terubong here has been detained for questioning, Penang police chief Datuk Abdul Ghafar Rajab said today.
He said the suspect was taken in at 11.15am yesterday and is believed to be a drug user.
“We have a CCTV recording showing him gesturing angrily at the deities before defiling them and stealing some items from the Hindu temple in Paya Terubong,” he told a press conference here.
The temple in Paya Terubong was burgled and vandalised on July 12. It is the fifth Hindu temple in Penang that was defiled in two months.
“We have not publicised the fifth incident because we are conducting investigations into it and the arrest of this suspect, who is an Indian, clearly shows that these incidents are not racially related,” he said.
The suspect has 13 past criminal records, six out of which are drug-related offenses.
“He has also admitted to another incident at the Sri Muneeswarar Temple in Jalan Tengku Kudin,” he said.
With his arrest, two of the temple defilement cases have been solved, he added.
The Penang police had set up a task force, led by deputy police chief Datuk A. Thaiveegan, to investigate the Hindu temples vandalism cases.
Abdul Ghafar said they are still investigating the three other cases that the police believe are also not racially motivated.
“We are investigating if this same suspect is behind the other cases or if there are others like him,” he said.
With the arrest, the police also found a machete, two hand phones and some jewellery items including a necklace and rings.
“We believe some of the jewellery were stolen from the two temples he vandalised,” he said.