Published: Wednesday January 9, 2013 MYT 7:12:00 PM
Updated: Wednesday January 9, 2013 MYT 9:26:19 PM
Penang CPO: Negligence believed to have led to detainees' escape, four cops suspended
TASEK GELUGOR: The four police escorts responsible for the escape of nine detainees have been suspended from duty to facilitate investigation of negligence.
Penang police chief Datuk Abdul Rahim Hanafi said initial investigation found elements of negligence by the escorts and they may be subjected to disciplinary action.
"In this case, we found that they did not follow the rules and were negligent, causing the detainees to escape," he told reporters here Wednesday.
In the incident at 9am Monday, nine detainees escaped after hijacking a police van.
The detainees had beaten up the police escorts and then pushed them out of the van. The police were escorting the detainees from Penang Prison to Butterworth Court Complex.
Two of the detainees were arrested after police found the van in Kampung Padang Chempedak, Tasek Gelugor, while seven others fled towards an oil palm plantation in Ara Kuda.
Abdul Rahim said the police have a new lead on the location of the detainees' hideout and expected to arrest four of them soon.
"Police are actively hunting down the detainees but I can't disclose the new lead for fear of compromising the investigation."
He said police believe the seven detainees were in hiding in Tasek Gelugor area as they could not go far due to roadblocks.
Police Tuesday formed a task force headed by Penang deputy police chief Datuk Abdul Rahim Jaafar.
The task force is made up of 250 members from the Police Air Unit, Bukit Aman.
Meanwhile, police detected one of the seven escaped detainees in Kampung Tun Sardon, the deputy CPO said later in the day.
He said the man was hiding in a vacant house near an oil palm plantation in the village.
Based on a tip-off, police raided the house at 5.30pm and saw a man believed to be one of the hunted detainees but he managed to get away.
"Police pursued but failed. The man, wearing only a pair of trousers, escaped into the oil palm plantation heading towards Kulim Kedah," he said.
He said police had launched a manhunt for the man in the area up to the Kedah border and six more accomplices were believed to be still in the plantation. - Bernama