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Tuesday, 14 November 2017 | MYT 2:52 PM

Pastor Koh inquiry: Witness claims his detention was to intimidate others

KUALA LUMPUR: Former Petaling Jaya city councillor Peter Chong claims that he was held against his will in Hatyai, Thailand in order to intimidate those attending candlelight vigils in Malaysia.

“I asked them why they chose me and they said they thought I was the one who organised vigils for Pastor Raymond Koh.

“I tried to convince them that I personally did not know Koh at all," Chong told a public inquiry by the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) into the disappearance of Koh and three others.

He said that the two men who held him claimed to belong to a group promoting Islam.

Chong said he had a hard time convincing the men holding him against his will that he was not involved in organising any of the candlelight vigils.

In April, Chong claimed that he was abducted in Hatyai while he was there to meet a source who had information on Koh's disappearance.

During the inquiry, he said he received WhatsApp messages on April 6 from a man named “Amir” claiming that he had information on the missing Koh.

After exchanging texts over two to three hours, Chong said he left for Hatyai to meet Amir on the same day.

“When I arrived in Hatyai at about 6am to 7am, I was approached by a man on a motorcycle with a note telling me to come with him,” he said.

Chong claimed that after arriving at the destination, he was made to wear a hood over his head, but after about 10 minutes, he told the men that he felt uncomfortable.

“I was allowed to remove it but the men were wearing surgical masks,” he said, adding that this prevented him from seeing their faces.

Chong said after talking with them for a while, he realised that his trip was a futile effort.

“I felt cheated because I realised they did not have information about the disappearance of Koh.

“Instead, they said they were concerned about the candlelight vigils and that I should tell others not to attend them,” he said.

Chong, however, told the inquiry that he had attended candlelight vigils in Kelana Jaya and Shah Alam, and a prayer meeting at a Methodist church in Kampung Kayu Ara.

The inquiry is being held under Section 12(1) of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) Act in connection with the disappearance of Koh, social activist Amri Che Mat, Pastor Joshua Hilmi and his wife, Ruth Sitepu.

The panel of inquiry consists of commissioners Datuk Mah Weng Kwai as chairman, Prof Datuk Dr Aishah Bidin and Dr Nik Salida Suhaila Nik Saleh.

Koh, 62, was abducted from his car by a group of men along Jalan SS4B/10 in Petaling Jaya at about 11am on Feb 13 while on his way to a friend's house.

His silver-coloured car bearing the licence plate ST5515D has not been found.