Villagers rush indoors as police and detainees engage in shootout

BUKIT MERTAJAM: Sharifah Aminah Syed Hassan, 70, was collecting coconuts by a river in Kampung Padang Ibu here at about 1pm yesterday when she saw two speeding cars and policemen ordering everyone indoors.

“As I ran towards my house, I heard the sound of gunshots. There may have been 20 shots in all,” she said.

She looked out of a window and saw a black car in the canal and quickly locked the front door for fear that criminals chased by the police could sneak into her house located about 20 metres from where the shooting took place.

Sharifah Aminah was to find out later that the police had shot dead two of seven detainees who had escaped on Monday while nine detainees were being transported in a police van from the Penang prison to the Butterworth courts complex.

Penang police chief Datuk Abdul Rahim Hanafi said the dead men were Mohd Fairuz Adam, who was also known as Joe Mafia, and Mohd Noor Mustafa, a member of the Joe Mafia gang.

Another villager, Yusuf Salleh, 59, said he first thought that the gunshots were fire crackers let off by the owner of a vegetable farm nearby.

He was watering plants at the back of the house when the police ordered everyone indoors.

“Only then did I realise that it was a shootout between the police and criminals. Fearing for my safety, I quickly went into the house,” he said.

Villager Jamaludin Ahmad, 60, said he was cutting the grass at his sugarcane smallholding about 50 metres from where the car had plunged into the canal. — Bernama

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