Police nab two key suspects over Sungai Kim Kim toxic pollution

Johor police chief Datuk Mohd Khalil Kader Mohd said the two suspects are believed to be instrumental in the illegal dumping of toxic waste into Kim Kim River in Pasir Gudang. — Picture by Ben Tan
Johor police chief Datuk Mohd Khalil Kader Mohd said the two suspects are believed to be instrumental in the illegal dumping of toxic waste into Kim Kim River in Pasir Gudang. — Picture by Ben Tan

PASIR GUDANG, March 19 — Johor police today arrested two new suspects said to be “instrumental” in the illegal dumping of toxic waste into Sungai Kim Kim here, which resulted in more than 4,000 people being hospitalised.

State police chief Datuk Mohd Khalil Kader Mohd said a lorry believed to be used when the chemicals were disposed of was also seized.

“The two suspects are believed to be linked to the factories and were instrumental in arranging for the transportation of the toxic substances,” he said after a disaster management committee meeting at Menara Aqabah here tonight.

Mohd Khalil said the latest arrests bring the total to 11 nabbed so far in connection with the case.

“All of those arrested are aged between 27 and 41 and we have remanded them to assist investigations. However, a male suspect was released on police bail today as he was not connected to the case.

“We will try our best to wrap up investigations as it is a case of public interest,” said Mohd Khalil, adding that the police will complete their investigations as soon as possible and submit their findings to the deputy public prosecutor for action.

All the suspects were arrested in Johor, with one in Perak.

Mohd Khalil said the case is being investigated under Sections 278, 284 and 326 of the Penal Code for causing hazardous air; careless handling of toxic substances; and causing severe injury respectively.

Yesterday, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun said the police have arrested nine individuals over the illegal dumping of chemical waste into Sungai Kim Kim here.

He said the arrests followed an aggressive manhunt involving Bukit Aman and state police.

To date, 76 police reports have been lodged on the incident.

The toxic pollution in Sungai Kim Kim began on March 7 after a group of students were hospitalised from inhaling fumes emitted by the waste. All 111 schools in Pasir Gudang have been closed until further notice.