Friday February 1, 2013
Shooting near shopping mall to be probed thoroughly, says Miri police chief
By DIANA ROSE
MIRI: A thorough investigation will be carried out into a case in which a policeman fired his weapon at a suspected criminal’s car which nearly knocked the former down following a stakeout in the vicinity of a shopping mall here late Wednesday.
Fortunately no one was hurt except for the policeman whose hands and feet were slightly injured.
“We are not trigger-happy,” said district police chief ACP Mun Kock Keong, who added that it was a “circumstance shot”.
He gave an assurance that they would even reconstruct the crime scene in order to find out how and why the shots were fired.
During a press conference yesterday, ACP Mun said the stakeout was the beginning of an effort to cripple a vehicle theft syndicate operating in the city.
“Although we are not really sure yet, we believe that the suspect who was being watched that afternoon could be part of the syndicate,” he said, adding that it had been observed that cars stolen in Bintulu and Sibu often ended up in Miri and vice versa.
He said, at about 12.45pm while checking out a parking lot at the mall, a team in a patrol car saw a suspicious looking Proton Waja which was reported stolen in Bintulu earlier that morning.
The car was actually stolen on Tuesday but the owner reported the loss the next morning.
The team tailed the Waja, but after a while the driver realised that he was being followed.
In the course of escaping, the suspect’s car hit a few other cars in the parking lot.
One of the policemen, who had gotten out of the car to flash his badge with intention to stop the car, was nearly knocked down by the Waja.
He then fired three shots, two of which hit the car and one hit a nearby bridal shop.
“We are investigating whether the bullet strayed or ricocheted off the car and hit the building,” said ACP Mun. “Our initial findings at the building were just splinters from the bullet head.”
A forensics team had gone over the crime scene, he said, adding that the policeman who fired the shot had been treated as an outpatient at Miri Hospital.
Members of the public who were at the scene said the Waja managed to get away from the police, and while speeding along Jalan Parry, it hit a car belonging to a Bruneian, who immediately gave chase as the car went towards Krokop area. Along the way the Bruneian kept the police posted.
The suspect, who is said to be a 29-year-old local, managed to escape but left behind his partner, a 24-year-old pregnant woman.
The police promptly arrested her and then contacted her nearest next of kin.
ACP Mun said they found an identity card in the car believed to be the suspect’s.
He said they had alerted police throughout the state and most exit points were being monitored closely.
ACP Mun also added that back at the mall’s parking lot, police also found another stolen vehicle, a Pajero, which was reported missing in Sibu on Jan 21.
“Probably the suspect was about to get the stolen car when he was spotted.”
ACP Mun said the case was being investigated under Section 307 of the Penal Code for attempted murder and also under Section 379A of the Penal Code for vehicle thefts in Bintulu and Sibu.