GEORGE TOWN: A man who escaped police custody while in transit to a hospital for a so-called check-up yesterday was suspected to have bribed escorting officers with money, Penang police chief Commissioner Chuah Ghee Lye said today.
Chuah said what was shocking was that the police officers’ initial report of the escapee, Anuar Ayat, 43, was also false.
The false “initial” report claimed Anuar had run on foot after the police van in which he was travelling with two other detainees suffered brake failure.
Anuar was said to have escaped as the van pulled over to a side road in Relau at 2am Sunday. The van was on its way from the Bayan Baru centralised lock-up to the Balik Pulau Hospital.
Chuah said in reality, the officers were alleged to have struck a deal with the three detainees to meet their respective family members.
He said Anuar had made two stops, first to visit his family members in Sungai Ara, and then to meet a friend, a 56-year-old fisherman at Kampung Sungai Nibong Besar.
Chuah said Anuar and his fisherman friend had disappeared shortly after their meeting.
He said it is likely Anuar was planning to escape through the sea route with the help of the fisherman.
Chuah said the fisherman was arrested along with eight police officers who are alleged to have aided in Anuar’s escape. Most of those arrested hold the ranks of corporals and lance corporals, while one of them is a sergeant. They have been remanded for three days.
The policemen had also helped the two other detainees, aged 38 and 45, to visit their families at an undisclosed homestay in Sungai Ara. However, those two men did not escape from police custody.
“We have alerted all checkpoints in the country and issued an all-points bulletin to the marine police as well.
“If the need arises, we will alert Interpol if he is found to have gone out of our borders,” Chuah told a press conference at the state police headquarters here today.
The policemen are being investigated for negligently allowing the detainee to escape from confinement, resistance or obstruction of arrest and making a false report.
Chuah said the policemen will face disciplinary action and possible dismissal from the force if found guilty.
“Anuar was first arrested in Sungai Petani for trafficking drugs, which was substantial in amount. He was later brought to the Bayan Baru centralised lock up last Thursday.
“Anuar was supposed to be charged at the Penang High Court today for trafficking as well,” Chuah said.
Those who have seen Anuar and know his whereabouts can call ASP Norhisyam Ramli of the Northeast district police at 019-471-5484 or dial 999.