Sunday January 13, 2013
Three suspects held in connection with JPJ vehicle torching
By EDMUND NGO
LUMUT: Three suspects have been picked up in connection with the incident in which a mob overturned and set a Road Transport Department (JPJ) vehicle on fire, police said.
Perak police chief Deputy Comm Datuk Mohd Shukri Dahlan said the suspects were arrested on Friday and yesterday.
“Several more are expected to be picked up soon,” he said yesterday.
He was commenting on the incident in Ayer Tawar on Friday, in which a JPJ Toyota Fortuner was set ablaze after an oil palm fruit-laden lorry caused an 11-vehicle pile-up at a traffic junction near SM Methodist at about 12.20pm.
A group then confronted the four JPJ officers who had alighted from their vehicle to check the situation. The officers fled when the mob confronted them.
The pile-up involved two other lorries, two school buses, four cars and a motorcycle. Five people were admitted to the district hospital while 20 others received outpatient treatment.
Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir said he was saddened by the incident and advised the public not to jump to conclusions.
Meanwhile, conflicting versions of the incident have emerged, with one witness saying that the JPJ officers had stopped at the junction heading from Ipoh to Lumut when the accident happened.
“Some people have said that the officers swerved in front of the oil palm lorry to stop it, but that is not true because the vehicle stopped at the extreme right lane, heading for a U-turn.
“The lorry was on the middle lane next to the JPJ vehicle heading in the same direction. The lorry crashed into the back of a car, causing the pile-up, while other vehicles crashed into the JPJ vehicle,” he said yesterday.
The man, who declined to be identified, said curious passers-by then gathered at the scene and formed a crowd.
He added that they dispersed when the violence started.
Another version of the accident said the JPJ vehicle was heading to Ipoh and swerved into the path of the oncoming oil palm lorry by running over the divider.
Efforts to get comments from the state JPJ director were unsuccessful.