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KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 19 ― A witness testifying in a public inquiry into the disappearance of Pastor Raymond Koh described the latter’s alleged abduction on February 13 as resembling a police operation.
Roeshan Celestine Gomez told the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) panel into the case that a police investigating officer had made the remark while recording the witness statement at the Kelana Jaya Police Station in Selangor.
“He told me not to worry. In a casual conversation he told me based on how I described the incident, it looked like a police operation because it was done very quickly and in broad daylight.
“He also asked his colleague to check if there was any police operation that day and said he would get back to me,” said Gomez, the first witness called to testify at the Suhakam inquiry that kicks off today.
Suhakam commissioner Datuk Mah Weng Kwai who is chairing the inquiry then cut in and said the panel will be treating Gomez’s statement as “hearsay” until it can speak to the police officer involved.
The 25-year-old Gomez, a chambering student, said he was driving with a female friend to a crematorium when they were caught up in the events leading up to Koh’s disappearance.
He related that they thought they had stumbled on a movie shoot, until he realised the absence of a camera crew.
He told the inquiry that he first saw three black vehicles surrounding and herding a silver car on the SS4 Petaling Jaya road, adding that several man in black outfits and black ski masks then exited the black cars.
To Gomez, they resembled members of the US law enforcement Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team.
He then saw a struggle between one of the men and silver car's driver and the windscreen of the silver car being smashed. His friend tried to record the incident on her handphone but an Indian man appeared in front of his car and gestured for her to stop.
Gomez quickly reversed his car but the Indian man continued moving towards his vehicle. He then saw the vehicles pulling away.
“After that I called the police to make them aware of what just happened. The officer I spoke to asked me to head to Kelana Jaya Police Station to lodge my report. Two hours later, I was brought to see the investigating officer,” he said.
Gomez also recalled an unsettling incident in June, just a few days before he was asked to attend an identity parade at the Petaling Jaya police headquarters.
“I was out with my friend at Kota Damansara and someone broke my rear left car window and stole a laptop bag. In the bag were copies of my IC, some work notes and a personal statement I prepared for Suhakam.
“After going for the identity parade on July 6 and speaking to Suhakam on July 17, someone left that same bag in front of my house's gate. When I first saw it I was afraid it was a bomb. When I opened it I saw that they left everything there except for a plastic file,” Gomez said, fearing that it could have been an intimidation attempt.
Earlier in the inquiry, the panel were shown three closed circuit camera recordings taken from two houses in the vicinity of where Koh was allegedly abducted. The video clips showed three black vehicles surrounding a white car and forcing it to stop.
Two motorcycles and two more white cars were seen in the footage. A man was seen exiting one of the white vehicles and recorded the incident before Gomez's white Perodua Kelisa appeared on scene.
Another man in white was seen leaving the second of the two white vehicles and seemed to warned Gomez away. Gomez's vehicle was seen to quickly reversed while being herded by another man on a motorcycle.