Relaymedia

Raymond Koh: Lack of Evidence in Case of Missing Pastor Fuels Suspicion of Government Involvement

( [email protected] ) Apr 26, 2017 12:12 PM EDT
It's been over two months since pastor Raymond Koh mysteriously disappeared, and the lack of information surrounding his vanishing has caused some to speculate that "the authorities may have had a hand in all this."
Speculations that Pastor Raymond Koh was abducted by religious vigilante groups are spreading more than two months after his disappearance. Facebook/International Christian Concern

It's been over two months since pastor Raymond Koh mysteriously disappeared, and the lack of information surrounding his vanishing has caused some to speculate that "the authorities may have had a hand in all this."

As reported, Koh, 62, was exiting a highway in Kelana Jaya just outside of the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, when a convoy of black SUVs and motorcycles surrounding his car, boxing it in.

CCTV footage shows several men jump out and run to Koh, and then the convoy leaves, along with his car. The entire operation, which took place in broad daylight and was witnessed by other drivers, was completed in under a minute.

"The operation was very well planned. They knew who he was, where he was going, and probably had been tracking him," Koh's son Jonathan told the BBC"It was very professionally executed."

Despite a police investigation, no leads have surfaced in the disappearance, and Koh's family has not heard a single word from him or his alleged abductors.

Koh, who runs a non-government charity called Harapan Komuniti (Hope Community) in Kuala Lumpur, which helps the poor, single mothers, and drug addicts, had previously been investigated by authorities due to his evangelistic activities, which is considered a crime in the Islamic country.

"His alleged proselytism is not an excuse for kidnapping. If he did anything wrong, he should have the right as any citizen to trial," Jonathan told the BBC. Last month, Jonathan filed a second police report on suspicion that his father was murdered by Islamic extremists.

However, because of the lack of concern shown by Malaysian police and the absence of concrete information surrounding his vanishing, some people have begun to speculate that "the authorities may have had a hand in all this."

The "unprecedented mysterious" disappearance has led to "public perception and speculation... of forced disappearances", says the Malaysian Bar, using a term which usually refers to state-sponsored abductions.

"It is shocking and outrageous that a growing number of Malaysians could inexplicably disappear and not be found for days, weeks and months."

Adding to the suspicion of many is the number of other social activists who have been reported missing since last November, including Joshua Hilmy and his wife Ruth (both believers), and Amri Che Mat, a Muslim suspected of spreading Shia Islam, which is banned by religious authorities, according to persecution watchdog Open Doors USA.

In response to such allegations, the country's top police officer told citizens to "please shut up", and on Wednesday he told reporters there "was no connection".

Nevertheless, Hermen Shastri, general secretary of the Council of Churches of Malaysia, told the BBC that Koh's disappearance has sent a "worrying signal" to Christians in the country.

"It's a question on our minds, and some churches are worried it may be a trend... where those involved in activities related to the poor [are targeted by] vigilante groups," he said.

Koh's family has asked the international community to pray for the pastor's safe recovery: "We have been very stressed, it's been very frustrating," said his son. "But we are working on leads. I still think he's alive."

Tags : Raymond Koh, Malaysia, Malaysia government, abudction, Islamic extremist, missing pastor