Pudu Prison siege
|Pudu Prison siege|
|Royal Malaysia Police||Pudu Jail prisoners|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Comm Dato' Zaman Khan||Jimmy Chua|
|12 UTK operators||6 prisoners|
|Casualties and losses|
|2 hostages lightly wounded|
The Pudu Prison siege began on 17 October 1986 and ended six days later on 22 October. The siege began when six prisoners led by Jimmy Chua held a doctor and a laboratory technician hostage at the now demolished Pudu Prison, Kuala Lumpur. On 22 October, the hostage crisis at the prison ended without bloodshed when the Malaysian police counter-terrorism group Special Actions Unit (UTK) of PGK stormed the prison and rescued the two hostages.
Chua Chap Seng, a Singaporean also known as Jimmy Chua, fatally shot Constable Mohd Yassin Bin Ismail on 8 February 1984. Before killing the officer, the suspect was involved in other criminal activities, including possession of firearms and acting as the leader of secret societies. After killing Officer Yassin, the Kuala Lumpur police were ordered to hunt down Jimmy Chua. The senior police officers and men involved in Jimmy Chua's arrest were members of Intelligence Unit (D4) of Kuala Lumpur Police Contingent Headquarters, led by Inspector Bakri Bin Ghazali (a former Singaporean police inspector) and four members: Detective Constable Rosdi Shafie, Corporal How Beng Seng, Detective Constable Rahman, Detective Constable Anuar and Detective Constable Azizan.
The team successfully arrested Jimmy Chua several days after he had murdered Officer Yassin. The cops received information that Chua was in the vicinity of Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur and was driving a stolen red coloured Datsun Sunny car with a false plate number CU 125. Officer Rosdi with his colleagues were on regular patrols around Bukit Bintang in an unmarked green police van. During one of the patrols, they finally spotted Jimmy Chua on Khoo Teik Ee Street off Medan Imbi Street at about 5 pm. They followed the car to Khoo Teik Eee Street before intercepting and stopping the suspect's car. The team quickly surrounded the suspect's vehicle with weapons drawn. The ambush was successful and Chua did not resist nor did he attempt to escape. Upon his arrest, Chua was found to be in possession of a revolver and six rounds of ammunition. Chua was detained in Pudu Prison.
Pudu Prison Hostage Taking
On the morning of 17 October 1986, a routine medical check-up being conducted by Doctor Radzi Bin Jaafar (38), a skin specialist of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) and his UKM laboratory technician, Mr. Abdul Azizi Bin Abdul Majid in the prison clinic was suddenly interrupted by six prisoners who rushed into the clinic without warning. The leader of the six was Chua Chap Seng, aka Jimmy Chua (37). The other five Malaysians in his gang were: Ng Lai Huat (24), Sin Ah Lau (19), Lam Hock Sung (27), Yap Chee Keong (21) and Phang Boon Ho (27); all had been remanded for violating the Firearms Act. The group, armed with sharpened shoe heels and other improvised weapons, seized the two medical officers as hostages. The electricity supply to the prison clinic was also cut at the demand of the prisoners. The group then ordered the Pudu Prison medical assistant, several prisoners in the sick bay, and the warder guarding the clinic to leave. The warder, who was the last to leave the clinic, locked the gate to prevent the six hostage takers from leaving. Then he alerted the prison officers who surrounded the clinic. Shortly thereafter, Chua and his men demanded to speak to Superintendent Wan Zakaria of the Prison Department. The prisoners told him that they wanted the charges against them reduced and demanded to speak to a higher authority.
An hour after the incident began, the first outside police units and personnel began to arrive at the prison. Among the first to enter the prison in response were the Kuala Lumpur CID Chief, Assistant Commissioner Osman Awal, and Campbell OCPD Superintendent Hassan Khalid. After making an initial assessment of the situation, they called in the counter-terrorism group, Special Actions Unit or UTK, who soon arrived on scene and took up positions inside the prison near the clinic. They had been told to be prepared to storm the clinic at a moment's notice. Senior police officers including Inspector General Tan Sri Haniff met at Bukit Aman (Malaysian Police national headquarters) to discuss the unfolding crisis, but no immediate decision was made to use the UTK unit. The following morning, several members of the public who wanted to visit their relatives in prison were turned away. On seeing the heavily armed police personnel outside and inside the prison, they suspected that something was amiss inside the prison.
Chua repeatedly demanded that the Malaysian prison authorities release him and his friends; they would free the two hostages in return. Chua also demanded getaway vehicles and cash from the police, failing which they threatened to kill the two hostages. The prisoners rejected all food sent to them and only ate the biscuits and fruits of the other patients whom they had earlier ordered out of the ward. The Internal Security and Public Order Director, Commissioner Dato' Zaman Khan refused the demands for vehicles and cash. The commissioner, commander of the Special Operations Command ACP A. Navaratnam, and also the Prisons Department director-general, Datuk Ibrahim Mohamed, convened at the prison canteen as an ad hoc rescue operations centre for the duration of the crisis. Their discussions included the best way to raid the clinic, as well as the possibility of adding drugs into the captors' food to knock them out.
As the days passed, public awareness of the crisis inside the prison walls grew and anxiety increased. Large crowds began to gather outside of Pudu Prison every day, eager to find out what was going on inside. The high-rise buildings in the neighbourhood became watch towers for the public. The other prisoners there could see what the security forces were doing and planning in the canteen. The Malaysian Prime Minister Dato' Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who was supposed to leave on an official overseas trip, stayed on in the federal capital to ensure the matter was resolved without bloodshed. This was conveyed to the police forces on scene by Tun Hanif, a Malaysian Inspector General of Police. The crisis continued for days, and all those involved worked round-the-clock, surviving on one or two hours of sleep per night. None of the cops involved went home, and they ate, showered and slept in the prison canteen. Two shamans offered their services to subdue the captors but their offer was declined.
On 22 October, six days after the crisis had begun, a team of 12 UTK personnels under their commander ACP A. Navaratnam prepared to assault the prison clinic. They had sidearms, but the prime minister had given orders to resolve the crisis without bloodshed. The commandos then decided to utilise batons and rattan canes. The instruction was not to fire any shots but to contain the captors with the canes by pushing them away from the hostages. The director-general of Prisons who was assisting in the negotiation advised that the hostage-takers were relaxing and that the door to the prison clinic was ajar. Then one of the inmates at the prison cooperated with authorities. The inmate, who was not identified, made a phone call to the police when two of the prisoners were asleep and told them, Now is the time to act! explaining that the signal had been arranged during earlier negotiations. The prisoner then opened the gate of the wire fence behind the clinic and allowed the assaulting officers to enter.
At 5.30 pm local time, the UTK commandos silently stormed the prison clinic where Chua and his gangs as well as their hostages were located. Commissioner Zaman was the head of one group in the assault. An inmate who cooperated with the cops then tried to shield the hostages with his body when 12 rattan-wielding members of the commando forces burst into the room and disarmed the inmates. When the raid began, Jimmy Chua and Lai Huat were sleeping while the other prisoners were chatting. The commando forces shouted at the prisoners and they attempted to fight back, but were unsuccessful because they were caught by surprise and were weak from the long ordeal. All of the prisoners except Ng were treated at the clinic after the raid was over. Ng was taken to a government hospital with a shoulder wound and he was later returned to prison. The hostages suffered minor injuries to their hands and arms during the fighting, but were otherwise unharmed.
The siege was ended, just a few minutes after the assault had commenced, with no casualties reported from the rescue team, hostages or prisoners, except for one prisoner who was slightly wounded. This was a successful hostage rescue mission with the assault team resolving the crisis in just one minute only without gunfire and by using hand-to-hand combat technique to subdue the prisoners and rescue the hostages.
On 18 April 1987, six men including Chua were tried in the High Court on charges of kidnapping a doctor and a technician in Pudu Prison. According to Magistrate C.R Lopez, who conducted a preliminary inquiry into the charges, there was sufficient evidence against them to proceed to trial. They were alleged to have held Dr. Radzi Jaafar and Dr. Abd Aziz Abd Majid in the prison clinic and to have demanded to be released unconditionally from prison as their ransom. Jimmy Chua and his gang were charged and convicted under Section 3 (1) of the Kidnapping Act of 1961 which carries a maximum punishment of death upon conviction. They were hanged on 10 October 1989.