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Why was pastor Koh abducted in a coordinated attack?

04 June 2018

The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia has resumed its inquiry into the disappearance of the missing pastor, Raymond Koh, who was kidnapped on 13 February last year.

Raymond Koh’s abduction, which was caught on CCTV, was conducted with military precision and implies a coordinated attack by trained individuals. At least 10 men in black SUVs blocked a major road during broad daylight and abducted him. He has not been seen since.

In the last month, three things have changed, giving Koh’s family new hope. His wife, Susanna Liew, says she is optimistic that he 'will be released soon'.  


A new government has defeated the coalition that ruled Malaysia for six decades. Initial signs indicate this government aims to uproot some of the corruption of the previous government and it may be more amenable to minority faiths.


On 17 May 2018, a police whistleblower came forward implicating the Bukit Aman, a special branch of the police force, in the abductions of Raymond Koh. The whistleblower claimed that the abductions were done with the full knowledge and approval of the then Inspector General of Police, Khalid Abu Bakar.  

The informant made it clear that Raymond Koh was targeted for having a minority faith. Should these allegations prove true, the police and possibly several members of the Malaysian government seriously undermined the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia, committed perjury, obstructed justice, and demonstrated a complete disrespect for the rule of law. 

However, it has been reported that since coming forward the whistleblower has backtracked on some of his statement. Many are worried that this is out of fear of a backlash from the perpetrators.


The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia has reopened their inquiry into Pastor Koh’s abduction, which had been halted after police arrested an alleged suspect in February. The suspect had been previously cleared of any wrongdoing. His re-arrest appeared to many to serve the sole purpose of halting the ongoing investigation. 


Three others were abducted around the time of Raymond Koh. Christian husband and wife, Joshua Hilmy and Ruth Sitepu, were last seen in November 2016, while Shia Muslim activist, Amri Che Mat, was abducted in a highly professional operation very similar to that of Raymond Koh. The inquiry will investigate all four disappearances.  


Zoe Smith, Head of Advocacy at Open Doors, said, “The facts of this case are utterly outrageous. We urge the new Malaysian government to urgently address these abductions as a matter of priority; to expose the truth of the sophisticated abductions of Raymond Koh and Amri Che Mat, and the disappearance of Joshua Hilmy and Ruth Sitepu; to secure the release of all four abductees; and to root out the corruption which allegedly led to approval from the highest police authorities for the abduction of individuals because of their faith.”

Open Doors' partners in Malaysia are asking people to urgently contact the Malaysian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom and the Malaysian Minister for Home Affairs, urging them to expose the truth about the abductions and secure the release of all four missing persons.

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