Seven teens ar­rested over deadly tah­fiz fire

The Borneo Post (Sabah) - - FRONT PAGE -

KUALA LUMPUR: Po­lice have ar­rested seven youths aged be­tween 11 and 18 in con­nec­tion with the fire at Darul Qu­ran It­ti­faqiyah school, which claimed the lives of 23 stu­dents and teach­ers, early Thurs­day.

Kuala Lumpur Po­lice chief Datuk Amar Singh Ishar Singh said mock­ing re­marks ex­changed be­tween the youths and the stu­dents was be­lieved to be the mo­tive be­hind the tragic fire.

Speak­ing at an ur­gent me­dia con­fer­ence here last night, Amar Singh said the seven teenagers were picked up be­tween 6 pm on Fri­day and 2.30 am yes­ter­day.

“They com­prised school leavers and dropouts liv­ing around Datuk Kera­mat area,” he said.

He said all of them have been re­manded for seven days from to­day and in­ves­ti­ga­tions would be done un­der Sec­tion 302 of the Pe­nal Code for mur­der and Sec­tion 435 for mis­chief by fire.

Amar Singh said six of the youths were tested pos­i­tive for drugs and two had pre­vi­ous crim­i­nal records for ri­ot­ing and ve­hi­cle theft.

“Po­lice had also seized five shirts, five pants, four hel­mets and three mo­tor­cy­cles from the youths. The shirts and pants will be sent to the Chem­istry Depart­ment for hy­dro­car­bon anal­y­sis.

“The in­di­vid­ual seen in the vi­ral Malaysian Mus­lim Con­sumers As­so­ci­a­tion’s CCTV footage is one of the seven youths ar­rested,” he ex­plained.

In re­ply to the ques­tion about the two gas cylin­ders found out­side the stu­dents’ room on the se­cond floor of the school, Amar Singh said:

“The youths had taken the two gas cylin­ders from the lower floor of the school and took it to the se­cond floor.

“In­ves­ti­ga­tion also found that there was an ac­cel­er­ant used (at the scene).”

Amar Singh said po­lice were also in the midst of in­ves­ti­gat­ing the trace of petrol be­lieved to have been used to ac­cel­er­ate the spread of fire.

On one of the sur­viv­ing tah­fiz stu­dents called in for ques­tion­ing yes­ter­day, he said the stu­dent was found not in­volved.

Mean­while, Amar Singh also warned the pub­lic to stop spread­ing un­ver­i­fied and false in­for­ma­tion about the case as it would af­fect po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tions and pro­ceed­ings, if the case was brought to court.

“Any in­di­vid­ual found to have spread false in­for­ma­tion could be ar­rested un­der Sec­tion 203 of the Pe­nal Code,” he said.

The 5.15 am fire at the tah­fiz school early Thurs­day morn­ing re­sulted in the deaths of 21 stu­dents and two teach­ers. The tragic fire cap­tured na­tion­wide at­ten­tion with de­mands for the author­ity to take stern ac­tion to pre­vent re­cur­rence. - Ber­nama

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