Tuesday March 5, 2013
The last call home
By NIGEL EDGAR
SERIAN: Just hours before the fateful evening, Semporna Special Branch chief ASP Michael Padel, 35, called home to Kampung Tebakang here.
But little did his mother and sister here know that it was his last phone call.
Eldest sister Vivian Padel, 42, said she was surprised that Michael called home twice that day.
“He told me on the phone on Saturday that he was going on an operation. But not in Lahad Datu.
“I thought it was a normal operation since he said it was far from Lahad Datu,” she said struggling to contain her sorrow.
He told her that he was going to Kampung Siminul in Semporna, some 200km from Lahad Datu.
According to Vivian, ASP Michael told her that it was going to be a dangerous mission though not as dangerous as Lahad Datu.
“This (ASP Michael’s death) is very hard to accept. We siblings were very close. He was very well-liked by many friends,” said Vivian, adding that the last time Michael was here was Gawai last year.
Their mother Elizabeth Inat, 62, said she missed Michael.
“Last I heard from him was on the phone on Chinese New Year,” she said as she hugged ASP Michael’s huge portrait.
ASP Michael was one of six policemen gunned down during the Saturday operation at Kampung Sri Jaya, Siminul, Semporna. They were acting on a tip-off that there was a group of armed men hiding in the village.
Two gunmen were also believed to be killed during the shoot-out, while one who claimed to be one of the shooters was beaten to death by villagers on Sunday.
On Friday, two VAT69 police commandos were killed, while three others were injured in a shoot-out with armed intruders in Kampung Tandou, Lahad Datu.
ASP Michael’s body was flown back from Tawau to Kuching in an aircraft of the Royal Malaysia Air Wing yesterday.
The aircraft which also carried Michael’s wife Jabah Mingku, and 11-year-old son Max Lui, landed at the police air wing base near Kuching International Airport around 5.30pm.
His coffin was put in a police van and transported to Kampung Tebakang, some 10km from Serian town, and about 44km from here.
A funeral service will be held at St Joseph’s Cathedral here on Wednesday morning before burial at the Heroes Grave, courtesy of the state government.