GOF personnel killed in border shootout

Datuk Seri Abdul Hamid Bador

KUALA LUMPUR – A policeman was killed while another was seriously injured during a shootout with smugglers at the Malaysian-Thai border in Padang Besar, Perlis early today.

The 2.30 am incident involved two members of the General Operations Force (GOF) who were carrying out intelligence work in the area.

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Corporal Baharuddin Ramli from Battalion 3 (Senoi Praaq) of the GOF Northern Brigade was shot on the left side of his abdomen and died at the scene while his colleague Corporal Norihan a/l Tari of the Border Control Post, is in critical condition after being shot thrice in his ribs and stomach.

Norihan is being treated at the Tuanku Fauziah Hospital in Kangar.

The late Baharuddin is from the Orang Asli Semelai tribe and his remains will be brought to his wife’s village in Negeri Sembilan for burial.

Inspector-General of Police Datuk Seri Abdul Hamid Bador, in a special media conference at Bukit Aman this evening, said the shootout took place at a rubber smallholding used as a smuggling route, less than 600 meters from the border area.

Following the incident, six people were arrested, four of whom were detained by Thai police while the other two, Thai nationals, were detained by Malaysian police.

“I was informed that Thai police managed to arrest three men, with one of them in critical condition and two more seriously injured,” he said.

Elaborating further on the incident, Abdul Hamid said the two GOF personnel had parked their motorcycle before walking about 400 meters in a bushy area.

“They came across a large group of people and a shootout took place… the GOF personnel were only armed with pistols because they were on scouting duty.

“Corporal Baharuddin ran out of bullets and retreated before collapsing while Norihan managed to reach the motorcycle and returned to the control post to get help,” he said.

Meanwhile, Perlis police chief Datuk Surina Saad said initial investigations found that the incident involved about 13 smugglers who at that time were believed to be carrying about 12 packets of ketum leaves (estimated weight about 400-500 kilogrammes) and a sack containing cough mixture.

“One (smuggler) was arrested by the VAT 69 commando team after the incident and another was detained by GOF Battalion 3 … (however) no weapons were found,” she said.

Earlier, Abdul Hamid, who rushed to the scene this morning, said the security situation in the border area so far was under control, and he offered his condolences to Baharuddin’s family members.

“The late Baharuddin passing is a great loss for the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) and the country,” he said in a statement posted on PDRM’s official Facebook page.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin, in a statement, said the Malaysian government views the incident seriously and would not compromise with any party, especially smugglers who carried out cross-border criminal activities.

Hamzah said he and all Home Ministry staff extend their condolences to the family of the dead policeman.

— BERNAMA