KOTA KINABALU, (Sept 25) — A police volunteer constable offered assistance to the Semporna district police chief over a skirmish in Kampung Sri Jaya, Simunul, on March 2 last year, the High Court here heard today.
Thanyman Antonysamy said he decided to help as he was familiar with the water village and it was only recently that the police chief, DSP Firdaus Francis Abdullah, had been posted to Semporna.
“He (Firdaus) told me there was some shooting during an operation and that some police personnel were trapped in a bright purple house near a surau and he asked me if I could identify the location,” he said.
Asked by Deputy Public Prosecutor Mohd Dusuki Mokhtar what his response was, Thanyman said he informed Firdaus that he would get back to the police chief once he had gathered more information on the area.
On the evening of that day, a team of police personnel from various units was ambushed at Kampung Sri Jaya while conducting a raid on a suspect linked to the Lahad Datu intrusion in February last year.
Thanyman said he then met up with an officer involved in the raid, who ran to the Semporna police headquarters after the skirmish occurred, to get more information on the location of the incident.
“After that, I made phone calls to some people I knew at the village in order to narrow down the location of the skirmish and the purple house,” he said.
After obtaining the additional information on the skirmish area, Thanyman, who hails from Penang and came to Semporna after graduating with a degree in law from Universiti Malaya, said he informed Firdaus he was able to show the police chief the location of the purple house and where he believed the skirmish could have taken place.
Thanyman said a Special Branch officer, Supt Mohd Zahari Sidek, who was introduced to him by Firdaus, instructed him to point out the location of the skirmish on a Google map on a computer at the police headquarters’ district control centre (DCC).
Mohd Dusuki: Did you suggest further action to be taken with regard to the exact location of the incident?
Thanyman: Yes. I told him (Mohd Zahari) that I would need a clearer map or aerial photo in order for me to be more specific (of the skirmish location).
Mohd Dusuki: What did he say?
Thanyman: He just nodded.
Mohd Dusuki: Did Mohd Zahari ask you about your willingness to become a pointer to the rescue team?
Thanyman: After he nodded, he discussed something with the police chief and then he asked me if I could be a pointer when a rescue team is formed for the purpose of rescuing the trapped police personnel.
Thanyman, who also possesses a degree in mechanical engineering, said he agreed to Mohd Zahari’s request after obtaining permission from Firdaus to do so.
Thanyman said that at about 9 am the following morning (March 3, 2013), he was asked by a Special Action Unit officer DSP Hisham Mahmood, whom he had met about 30 minutes earlier, to follow him on an aerial surveillance of the water village in a helicopter.
About 15 minutes later, he and Hisham, who had been assigned to lead the rescue operation, left the Semporna police headquarters and approached the water village about 30 minutes after take-off and Hisham began taking photographs of the area, he said.
“After I showed him the skirmish area, the bridges linking the area and access to the area from the sea, in order to plan a rescue operation, we went back to the police headquarters,” he said.
Earlier, Thanyman said that he came to Semporna in 2007 because he developed an interest in operating a fishing business and Semporna was an opportune place for the endeavour.
He told the court he had visited the water village about 10 times and entered via its six main bridges to look for workers for his fishing vessel.
He became a police volunteer constable in January last year, after completing a four-month training stint at the Tawau police headquarters, for the community where he lived where petty thefts and house break-ins sometimes occurred.
Thirty people, comprising 27 Filipinos and three local residents, are being tried in the case, in which some are facing multiple charges of being members of a terrorist group or waging war against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, recruiting members for a terrorist group or willfully harbouring individuals they knew to be members of a terrorist group.
They allegedly committed the offences between Feb 12 and April 10 last year.
The hearing, before Justice Stephen Chung at the Sabah Prisons Department, continues tomorrow.—BERNAMA