Driver: I had a bad feel­ing about the stranger at the flats

The Star Malaysia - - Nation -

KOTA KIN­A­BALU: For driver Ar­wan Hatta, the sight of a stranger walk­ing around his densely pop­u­lated flats at Ta­man Telipok Ria drew im­me­di­ate con­cerns.

The 41-year-old said he first saw the hostage-taker as he walked back to his flat on the fourth floor after zo­hor prayers yes­ter­day.

He had a bad feel­ing about the in­ten­tion of the man who was un­known to res­i­dents in his block.

“As I ar­rived near my flat, I saw my friends play­ing domi­noes and one of them asked me to take over his game. As I joined the oth­ers to play, the man sud­denly ap­peared on our floor car­ry­ing a knife.

“He looked at me. We stopped play­ing. I knew he had some other in­ten­tions,” said Ar­wan as he rec­ol­lected the events that led to the five­hour hostage drama.

“He (the sus­pect) kept look­ing at me and I stared back at him. I was ap­pre­hen­sive, but I think if he was not hold­ing a knife, I might have con­fronted him.

“But the man just en­tered one of the units where an el­derly neigh­bour was pray­ing.

“I shouted to my neigh­bour that some­one had en­tered his house but the man told the neigh­bour he wanted to sit in the house and asked him to close his room door.

“The man came out of the house and walked about five me­tres in the cor­ri­dor and picked up the child who was play­ing with toys.

“He just picked up the child and placed the knife on the child’s neck be­fore re­turn­ing to the flat and lock­ing the door.

“I started to shout pen­curi, pen­curi (thief, thief ). Other neigh­bours came, we broke down the door.

“The child never cried even after she was cut. He was just hold­ing her,” he said.

“We were try­ing to ask him to re­lease the child but he was very threat­en­ing,” Ar­wan said.

Po­lice did not re­lease the name of the child who was rushed to the Likas Women and Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal here.

The child’s con­di­tion is said to be stable.

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