KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 24 — The shootout at the Malaysia-Thailand border between two General Operations Force (GOF) personnel and a group of drug smugglers this morning happened spontaneously, said Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador.
He said both parties were surprised by each other’s presence at the site of the incident, which is about 600 metres from the TS9 control post in Padang Besar, Perlis, at about 2.30am today.
“The two GOF personnel were out on an intelligence operation armed with pistols and riding a motorcycle. They arrived at a bush and there was a trail in a rubber plantation area leading to the border wall.
“They then walked along the trail before they stumbled upon the group carrying sacks containing ketum leaves and cough medicine,” he told a special press conference at Bukit Aman here today.
He said Corporal Baharuddin Ramli, 54, who was shot shot in the right rib, managed to ask Corporal Norihan a/l Tari, 39, to get help from the TS9 control post. Norihan, who was shot three times, managed to get back to the post on the motorcycle.
Abdul Hamid said the rescue team which arrived at the location 30 minutes later found Baharuddin dead at the scene, with the pistol at his shoulder and out of bullets.
“Norihan, who was shot twice in the stomach, hitting his intestines, is in stable condition at the Tuanku Fauziah Hospital in Kangar, Perlis,” he said.
Abdul Hamid said the VAT69 commandos, who were dispatched to the area together with the rescue team from GOF, then managed to arrest two Thai suspects, with one of them found near the site of the shootout.
He said Baharuddin’s remains are still at the Sultanah Bahiyah Hospital in Alor Setar, Kedah and would be taken to the GOF 3rd Battalion Camp in Bidor, Perak and would be laid to rest with full police honours in Kampung Sampo, Bahau, Negri Sembilan.
Abdul Hamid, meanwhile, explained that the drug trafficking syndicate is believed to operate via barter trader by smuggling in drugs such as heroin and syabu from Thailand and taking ketum leaves from Malaysia into the neighbouring country.
“Police are tracking down three Malaysians believed to be involved in the syndicate and we have also identified seven trafficking syndicates which are active in the area,” he said.
He said police had also recorded two other shooting incidents near the control post on Nov 12 and 15, which were believed have been done to intimidate the enforcement officers in the area.
He said appropriate welfare assistance would be provided to the two members of the Senoi Praaq team, adding that the duo had received several certificates of appreciation and outstanding service awards before.
He also said that the Senoi Praaq team had a reputation that was feared among smugglers in the Malaysia-Thailand border because of its high level of integrity and trustworthiness in carrying out its duty. — Bernama