Kidnapped Malaysian pastor still missing

Source:                                               www.worldwatchmonitor.org

Date:                                                    February 27, 2017

 

By World Watch Monitor
Feb. 27, 2017

Pastor Koh, still missing after his abduction on 13 Feb
Pastor Koh, still missing after his abduction on 13 Feb

Change.org

A Malaysian pastor is still missing, almost two weeks after he was abducted.

Raymond Koh Keng Joo, 62, was taken by masked men in the city of Petaling Jaya, near Kuala Lumpur, on 13 February. No-one has claimed responsibility for his kidnapping, nor have there been any ransom demands.

Witnesses reported that there were at least five abductors, who were driving black 4x4s, and that one of them calmly filmed the incident while another stopped traffic. The whole incident was reported to have happened within a minute.

Almost two weeks later, local friends say they’re disheartened at the lack of information and progress from the police, who at first refused to file a “missing person” report, despite witnesses to the abduction.

Koh’s family has offered a reward for information leading to his release. At first, they offered RM10,000 (around US $2,250), but that amount was then increased tenfold to RM100,000 ($22,500).

His wife, Susanna, 61, told The Star she has struggled to sleep since her husband’s abduction and fears for his life.

“I don’t know what is happening. I appeal to whoever has taken him not to harm him,” she said. “He is a good husband, father and pastor, who helps the poor.”

“My husband has been involved in Harapan Komuniti, a community work project which he set up more than 10 years ago and which involves giving free tuition classes to children and English lessons to adults,” she added in an official statement.

In 2011, Mr. Koh was questioned after being accused by the Selangor Islamic Religious Department of trying to convert Muslims to Christianity, following a raid on a fundraising dinner at the Damansara Utama Methodist Church. That case was eventually dropped due to a lack of evidence.

Police have now confirmed the abduction and said they are “looking at his personal history and background to see whether he might have received any threat”.

A friend of the pastor told The Star that six years ago Koh received a bullet in the post and reported it to the police. However, the friend added that there had been “no other death threat since”.

“My children and I are shocked, saddened and traumatised by the events of the past week. Today, it is almost a week since Raymond was abducted and we have heard nothing,” said Mrs Koh in her statement on 18 Feb.

The chairman of the Christian Federation of Malaysia, Rev. Eu Hong Seng, also released a statement, saying: “Members of the community pray the authorities would be able to locate Koh… We ask the authorities to conduct a quick and thorough investigation into this incident and bring to justice its perpetrators.

“We pray for the success of law enforcement and investigating officers to locate the missing pastor and bring him to safety. The work of people of faith in such communities must be free from threats of violence and intimidation.”

A message was later circulated on social media claiming the pastor had been freed, but his wife condemned the rumours as “fake news”.

“We are saddened and anxious that there is fake news circulating that Pastor Raymond has been found and returned to the family. There is no truth to this,” she told The Star.

A petition to the Malaysian authorities and police to find Koh has been set up at Change.org.

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