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BATU GAJAH - An elderly man from Tanjung Tualang has lost his life savings of RM265,000 (S$88,000) to a scam.
Batu Gajah OCPD Asst Comm Ahmad Adnan Basri said the 78-year-old man's funds, kept in two banks, were withdrawn by scammers between Dec 30 and Jan 3.
He said the victim received a call from one "Sgt Wong" who spoke to him in Mandarin on Dec 19, stating that some packages meant for him had been seized at the Kota Kinabalu post office.
"The victim was told that due to rampant credit card scams, he needed to transfer all his money into new bank accounts.
"He was also asked to create ATM cards for his new bank accounts," ACP Ahmad Adnan said yesterday.
On Dec 27, the victim was asked to put the ATM cards on top of a red car in Tanjung Tualang and leave.
"He only found out that all his money was gone when he went to the banks to update his accounts on Jan 7," said ACP Ahmad Adnan.
"We believe the main suspect used some locals to withdraw the money from the banks. We are still trying to track them down."
KUALA LUMPUR – Badminton world No. 1 Kento Momota has been injured in a car accident in Malaysia, with the driver of the vehicle killed in the crash.
The pre-dawn vehicle collision took place along the Maju Expressway early Monday morning (Jan 13), just hours after he secured his first victory of the season at the Malaysia Masters.
The Japanese shuttler was with three other players en route to Kuala Lumpur International Airport when the hired van they were in rammed into the rear of a 30-tonne truck, the local fire and rescue department said in a brief statement. Pictures showed the front of the van crushed against a lorry but the back section appeared intact.
The driver of the van, named as N. Bavan, was killed in the accident. The fire and rescue department said it was still working to extricate the driver’s body from the wreckage.
Momota and the others – named as the Japanese player’s compatriots Yu Hirayama, Morimoto Arkifuki and Englishman William Thomas by official news agency Bernama – suffered slight injuries, the department said.
Malaysian daily The Star said Hirayama, 35, and Morimoto, 42, are part of the Japanese coaching team while Thomas is a Badminton World Federation (BWF) court official.
The vehicle crashed into the back of a lorry, which was travelling slowly, Bernama reported.
“The victim’s body and all the injured” were sent to hospital in the administrative capital Putrajaya, fire and rescue department senior official Norazam Khamis was cited as saying.
The injured “were able to walk out of the van by themselves with some scratches”, he added.
The survivors were reportedly in a stable condition, according to a statement from Serdang police.
This was confirmed by Malaysian Tan Kim Her, who is the men’s doubles coach for the Japanese national team.
“They are in stable condition but are currently under observation for another six to seven hours to see if they are okay,” The Star quoted him as saying.
“It’s truly tragic, especially involving a badminton icon like Momota,” Malaysian sports minister Syed Saddiq told reporters after visiting the injured in hospital. But he added those hurt were “recovering well, (and) all four are also in stable condition”.
The others hurt suffered facial, leg, hand and head injuries, according to the police.
The Badminton Association of Malaysia said in a statement it was “saddened” by what happened.
The incident has cast a pall over Momota’s celebrations after he had captured the Malaysia Masters title with ease on Sunday, when he beat Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen 24-22, 21-11.
It remains to be seen if the accident will affect his preparations for the upcoming Olympics, where he is bidding to win a first gold at his home Games - the only major individual title to elude him so far.
The reigning world champion had told reporters that he was eyeing more success in 2020 after Sunday’s victory.
Momota, currently the best player on the planet, enjoyed a stellar 2019, winning a record 11 titles including the World Championships, Asia Championships and All England Open.
“My condition was not perfect coming into this tournament, but I was focused on this week and was able to play calmly,” said the Japanese star, who pocketed US$30,000 (S$40,500).
“I do not think I am the strongest, but I am sharp and confident especially after winning the World Tour Finals last year. I know when to focus on attack and defence.”
Malaysian cop killed, another injured after their motorcycles crash into guardrail on North-South highway
PETALING JAYA - A policeman died and another suffered severe injuries when their motorcycles crashed into a guardrail along the North-South Expressway during a group trip to Sungkai, Perak.
According to Hulu Selangor OCPD Supt Azman Ab Rahman, the deceased, L/Kpl Mohd Azmi Zainal Abidin, had been travelling from Kuala Lumpur to Sungkai in a motorcycle convoy with L/Kpl Abdul Halim Don around 11.15am on Sunday (Jan 12).
"During the journey, L/Kpl Mohd Azmi had rear-ended L/Kpl Abdul Halim around KM411 causing both of them to crash into the guardrail," he said.
L/Kpl Mohd Azmi, 30, died at the scene and his remains were sent to Hospital Kuala Kubu Bharu while L/Kpl Abdul Halim, 39, was sent to Hospital Slim River for treatment.
The case has been classified as causing death by reckless or dangerous driving under Section 41 of the Road Transport Act 1987.P
PETALING JAYA - Flights to and from Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila, Philippines have been suspended due to the eruption of a volcano.
According to Malaysia Airlines, the flights from Kuala Lumpur to Manila that are affected on Monday (Jan 13) includes MH806, MH704, and MH804, while affected flights from Manila to Kuala Lumpur are MH805, MH705 and MH807.
It also noted that Flight MH804 which departed for Manila at 5.52pm on Sunday (Jan 12) returned to Kuala Lumpur and safely landed at Kuala Lumpur International Airport at 8.32pm on the same day.
"The airline is closely monitoring the situation and will adjust its flight operations when necessary," it said in a travel advisory.
Meanwhile, AirAsia said it will suspend and cancel domestic and international flights to and from NAIA.
"AirAsia guests travelling over the next few days are strongly encouraged to check their flight status at airasia.com/flightstatus for the latest updates," it said in a separate statement.
It was reported that the Taal volcano, one of Philippines's most active, spewed a kilometre-high column of ash, and several volcanic tremors were felt within the vicinity of the volcano. Taal's last eruption was in 1977.
According to Reuters, the volcano near the Philippines capital spewed ash up to 15km (nine miles) into the sky on Sunday, prompting the evacuation of thousands of people, the cancellation of flights and warnings of a possible explosive eruption and volcanic tsunami.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) raised its alert level to 4 out of 5 - meaning "hazardous explosive eruption is possible within hours to days".
KULAI, Malaysia - The secondary school principal who allegedly sexually groomed a male student has been transferred out of the school in Johor Baru.
Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching said the move was taken as the ministry looked into the serious allegation.
She also urged the victim to lodge a police report.
"This will enable a more thorough investigation to be carried out, " she said when met after officiating the SWM Environment Kasih Back to School programme at Dewan SK Murni Jaya, near Layang-layang here, yesterday.
Teo, who is also Kulai MP, said the principal has since been transferred to the district education office pending investigation.
Reporters last week reported that the Johor Education Department was investigating claims that an award-winning school principal was involved in the sexual grooming of a male student.
The principal, the report added, was also accused of sending obscene messages to the student, which has since gone viral on social media.
Meanwhile, in Song, Sarawak, a student management assistant has been arrested for allegedly throwing a wooden chair at a seven-year-old girl, injuring her head.
Song OCPD Deputy Supt Rowney Michael Jalak said yesterday that the 35-year-old assistant was supervising a night class at a primary school in Nanga Nansang, Terkalit, on Jan 8, and is believed to have been under the influence of alcohol then.
"When the pupils made noise, the suspect ordered them to stop but they just ignored him, " said DSP Rowney.
"He got angry and hurled the chair at the pupils, hitting one of them at about 7pm."
He said the victim, who was left with a lump on her head, returned from the hostel to her grandfather's house two days later.
"She told her grandfather about the incident.
"The grandfather then took her to the Song Health Clinic for treatment before lodging a police report the same day, " he added.
The suspect is being held to assist in investigation.
An engineer in Kuantan became the latest victim of an online blackmail scam after sending her nude photo to a syndicate for "loan approval".
Harian Metro reported that the 29-year-old first discovered the syndicate's loan advertisements on Facebook in early December 2019.
"The woman handed over a copy of her identity card, salary statement, bank account statement, utility bill and a nude picture of herself to the suspect for the purpose of getting a loan, " said Pahang Commercial Crimes Investigation Department chief Supt Mohd Wazir Mohd Yusof.
The victim then received a WhatsApp message from the syndicate on Christmas Day agreeing to lend her RM5,000 (S$1650).
Shortly after, the syndicate threatened to leak the victim's nude photograph if she did not transfer money to its contact person.
Within a span of five days, the victim made 13 transactions to three different bank accounts.
Despite paying RM17,985, the syndicate still demanded an additional RM15,000.
The victim refused and filed a police report at the Kuantan district police headquarters on Monday.
PETALING JAYA - No charges will be filed against individuals said to be involved in the sex video purportedly implicating Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali, as the duo featured in the clips couldn't be positively identified, says Malaysia's Attorney-General Tommy Thomas.
He said findings from a US company which analysed the video revealed that none of the individuals implicated in the video could be positively identified, due to low resolution and lack of video frames.
This prevented the subjects from being seen clearly, he said.
"The police also received an analysis report (of the video) from a private individual, which also stated that no conclusive identification could be done based on facial recognition.
"Both findings are consistent with a Cyber Security report earlier last year," Tan Sri Thomas said in a statement on Thursday (Jan 9).
After taking into account the findings along with the statements recorded, the deputy public prosecutor recommended that no charges be filed, he added.
"I accepted the recommendation and decided not to prosecute anyone.
"As per normal procedure, investigation can be reopened if there are any new leads," he added.
In June last year, a clip purporting to show Datuk Seri Azmin, 55, in bed with a young man was released to select journalists and politicians.
The clip was circulated via the WhatsApp messaging system, setting off a crisis in the governing Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition.
Other clips were subsequently released.
At the same time, a Youth wing member of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) from Sarawak, Mr Haziq Aziz, then 27, said in a separate video that he was the young man seen in the clip.
IPOH - Former premier Najib Razak has the right to take action regarding the release of audio clips by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) which allegedly incriminate him and other top officers, said MACC chief commissioner Latheefa Koya.
"It is within his right to do whatever he wants to," she told reporters during a visit to Perak capital Ipoh on Thursday (Jan 9).
Lawyers, meanwhile, debated whether it was unethical for the anti-graft chief to release the nine clips on Wednesday, while several said these would be admissable in court.
Najib's lawyer Shafee Abdullah said they were contemplating contempt proceedings against the MACC and Ms Latheefa for releasing information that was sub judice - under judicial consideration and prohibited from discussion - amid the ongoing 1MDB trials involving the ex-prime minister.
Ms Latheefa said on Thursday that the MACC had sent the first round of audio clips to the police for investigation.
"Whatever we reveal will have to be investigated. Based on what we have told earlier, there are elements of wrongdoings that can be heard in the audio (recordings)," she said.
"This means not only that the police can conduct investigations, MACC is also allowed to do it."
The voice recordings appeared to show Najib conspiring with senior Malaysian officials to cover up the 1MDB scandal and asking United Arab Emirates leaders to do the same in a dispute over US$6.5 billion (S$8.78 billion) in debt payments to Abu Dhabi's International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC).
The MACC on Wednesday played several clips from 2016 which allegedly revealed an attempt to manipulate investigations and other fraudulent acts aimed at concealing missing funds from 1MDB, the state investment firm under the then-premier's control.
Ms Latheefa did not reveal the source of the nine recordings - all of which appeared to be phone conversations - but said they were received all at once.
The MACC believes the voices on the recordings include those of Najib's wife Rosmah Mansor (who is facing separate graft charges), former MACC chief Dzulkifli Ahmad and prominent Abu Dhabi figures including Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed Zayed Al-Nahyan and the chief executive officer of the emirate's sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Development Company, Khaldoon Khalifa Al-Mubarak.
Meanwhile, lawyers were mixed on whether the MACC should have placed the recordings in the public sphere.
Pakatan Harapan MP and lawyer Ramkarpal Singh said in a statement on Thursday that what Ms Latheefa did could be seen as a trial-by-media of those implicated in the recordings.
Lawyer Haniff Khatri Abdulla said Ms Latheefa should have ordered the officer who received the nine audio clips to lodge a police report because it was not within the jurisdiction of the MACC to investigate criminal offence under the Penal Code.
Others say the audio clips would be admissable in court.
Criminal lawyer Kitson Foong said illegally-obtained evidence remained admissible in Malaysia, but this was subject to provisions in Section 90A of the Evidence Act 1950.
This means that either the maker of the sound recordings has to testify or a certificate must be produced to confirm that the recordings were "generated by any device in its ordinary course of use".
"However, what is of greater importance is the weight that the court attaches to such evidence after it is adduced in court... Admissibility is one thing, credibility is another, " he said.
It's not about how hard you get knocked down, it's how fast you get up. And this motorcyclist certainly recovered in style after wiping out in a car crash — by showing off his silat moves right then and there.
Footage of the accident, which reportedly took place at Kepong, Kuala Lumpur on Jan 6, showed the motorcyclist riding straight into a silver Perodua hatchback, which appeared to have the right of way at the intersection.
Despite being flung off his motorcycle from the impact, he stood back up, seemingly unhurt.
He then sunk into several poses reminiscent of silat, an indigenous Southeast Asian martial art, right in the middle of the busy intersection.
The motorcyclist was so absorbed in flexing some martial arts that he paid no heed to two other motorcyclists who had stopped to assist him and prop up his damaged bike. He also appeared unperturbed that the silver Perodua was driving off without even checking on him.
His bizarre behaviour left Malaysians scratching their heads and trying to guess just what he was thinking. Their theories ranged from the probable to the impossible and included everything from drug-use to being possessed by a ghost.
Jokes aside, being able to walk away from a car accident — or strike some silat poses — does not mean that you aren't injured.
According to US-based neurosurgeon Ofer M. Zikel, car crash victims may not notice symptoms right away, even if they have suffered from injuries such as concussions.
Some people may also only feel pain after their adrenaline rush has worn off.
If you have been involved in a car accident, look out for unusual symptoms including headache, neck pain, nausea or dizziness and seek medical help if needed.
The year of the Rat is not off to an auspicious start for one mall in Johor Bahru which has come under fire for an unusual addition to its Chinese New Year decorations — live hamsters.
Sutera Mall showed off their unconventional display in a short clip posted to Facebook on Jan 5, drawing the ire of animal lovers.
"Little hamsters took their baths, ate their fill and are ready to welcome a new day," read the caption.
The video showed several hamsters kept in decorative glass tanks that appeared to be outdoors, alongside other festive paraphernalia such as ingots and red ribbons.
According to PETS Magazine, hamsters should be housed at constant room temperature and should never be placed in an area with exposure to direct sunlight. A large cage with an exercise wheel is ideal so that the little critters do not get bored.
Many were not impressed by the setup and left comments accusing the mall of animal abuse.
Visitors to the mall had also raised concerns about the animals appearing lethargic and not moving.
In an interview with reporters on Jan 7, a spokesperson for Sutera Mall confirmed that they had a total of 40 hamsters on display and explained that the mall conceptualises its Chinese new year decorations for each year based on the Chinese zodiac.
As 2020 happens to be the year of the Rat, the mall installed four glass tanks holding four different species of hamsters.
"This is to prevent the different hamster species from fighting. So we separated them into the four tanks based on their species," she added.
However, this may not be a foolproof method of preventing conflict.
According to PetMD, hamsters — even those of the same species — can be territorial and prone to violent fights.
The spokesperson also claimed that the hamsters' lethargy during the day was normal as they are nocturnal and assured those concerned that the animals were well cared for.
However, the mall will be improving the ventilation in the enclosures and adding more shade in response to netizens' feedback.
The hamsters will be put up for adoption eventually, with priority given to employees of the mall, she added.
When asked if the hamsters will continue to be part of the display, she said: "Our original plan was to display the hamsters until the Chinese New Year is over, but we will have to see based on the circumstances."
In a comment on their Facebook page, Sutera Mall also apologised if the display had made shoppers uncomfortable and promised that "action will be taken".