KUCHING, Jan 1 – Police shot dead four suspected robbers early today following a car chase and a confrontation in an oil palm plantation near Bintulu, about 600km from here. They recovered a Toyota Vios car, a shotgun, a parang, a sabit and house-breaking tools as well as several watches believed to be the loot from robberies, said Sarawak Commissioner of Police Datuk Seri Muhammad Sabtu Osman.
He said the men did not have identification documents on them but police believe they were involved in at least three armed robberies in Bintulu last month. Muhammad Sabtu said three police teams on crime-prevention patrol in Bintulu spotted four men in a Toyota Vios car behaving in a manner that raised suspicion at Jalan Tun Hussein Onn at about 1am.
When the men spotted the police, they drove off fast towards Miri, he said, adding that the policemen gave chase. At Km42 of Jalan Bintulu-Miri, the car attempted to turn into the Ladang Maskat oil palm plantation, but veered off and crashed onto the road shoulder, he said in a statement.
Muhammad Sabtu said that when the policemen approached the car, they heard several gunshots and responded by opening fire. They saw two men alight from the car and run into the plantation and a few of the policemen chased them, he said. As the policemen neared the duo, they turned around and rushed at them, swinging a parang and a sabit, he said.
“The policemen shot at the men in self-defence, felling them in their tracks. A tactical search conducted after the shootout confirmed that all four men were dead. One suspect was slumped in the driver’s seat of the car, the second was found on the (front) passenger side with a sawn-off shotgun beside him. The other two suspects were in the oil palm plantation not far from the car with the parang and sabit beside their bodies,” he said.
“The car was reported stolen in Bintulu in July last year. No identification documents were found on the suspects, who are believed to have been involved in three armed robberies in Bintulu in December 2015, the latest on Dec 29,” said Muhammad Sabtu.
He said the men were also believed to have been involved in several cases in Miri and Sibu last year. Muhammad Sabtu congratulated the Sarawak CID, especially the D9 teams, for the success and said the teams had been in Bintulu over the past one month working tirelessly to gather intelligence and track down the robbers.
He said Sarawak CID had sacrificed spending the holidays with their families and finally brought the curtain down on this group. Meanwhile, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar conveyed his congratulations on the success via a post on his Twitter account.