TANGKAK, Dec 15 — Police have mounted a manhunt for a suspect, nicknamed “Long Tiger”, after he escaped the Tangkak Magistrate’s Court lockup here today.

The 32-year-old suspect, who is of Rohingya descent, was said to have fled via the court’s main gate at 11.55am while waiting for his extortion case to be heard.

Tangkak police chief Superintendent Mohd Fadhil Minhat said the suspect, identified as Abdul Hamim Ab Hamid, had been taken by the authorities from the Sungai Udang Prison in Melaka yesterday, ahead of  today’s court appearance in connection with an extortion case.

“However, the court proceedings, slated to begin at 10am, were delayed while waiting for the accused’s lawyer.

“Several policemen who were escorting the suspect to court then realised that the accused was trying to flee when they saw him running out of the main entrance.

“Policemen and security guards gave chase, but the suspect managed to give them the slip at a secondary jungle nearby,” said Mohd Fadhil during a media conference at the Tangkak district police headquarters here today.

Mohd Fadhil said efforts to apprehend the suspect failed as he had gained too much ground.

“The suspect fled into a nearby secondary jungle while still in handcuffs,” he said.

Mohd Fadhil pointed out that the policemen responsible for escorting the suspect to court will also be investigated for negligence.

He said investigations will focus on whether those escorting the suspect were known to him as well as details leading to his escape.

On the suspect, Mohd Fadhil said the accused still has an ongoing trial in the Muar Sessions Court involving a rape case under Section 376 of the Penal Code and is now currently being investigated under Section 224 of the same Code for escaping from detention.

“The suspect is bald, stands at about 160cm tall and weighs about 65kg. He was last seen wearing a ‘Pagoda’ T-shirt and brown trousers,” he said, appealing to the public who have seen the suspect to contact the police immediately.

In May last year, police arrested the suspect, who is said to be a local gang leader and was known to issue threats to the authorities via Facebook.

Police investigations revealed that the man had three criminal records from 2009 to 2012 involving kidnapping, rape and criminal intimidation.

The suspect also has a temporary resident status as well as a refugee card issued by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).