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ARKIB : 13/09/2002

Mat Komando killed in shoot-out with police

THE residents of Kampung Hujung Keton inspect the hut where Mat Komando, was shot dead in a shoot-out with the police in Pendang. Insert: Mat Komando's wife Faridah Md Piah, 30 and their 10-year-old son, Sept 12. - Utusanpix.


ALOR SETAR Sept 12 - The country's most wanted criminal Ahmad Mohd Arshad, better known as Mat Komando, was shot dead in a shoot-out with the police in Kampung Hujung Keton, Pendang, today.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Norian Mai said Mat Komando, 37, was shot in the head and left ribs when police stormed a hut in the village at 6.30 am.

He died holding a gun in each hand, Norian told a news conference at the Kedah state police headquarters here.

In his left hand was a semi-automatic Colt .45 pistol with three rounds of ammunition and in his right hand was a .22 revolver with two rounds of ammunition and two bullet shells, he said.

Mat Komando, a former army commando, had led a group of 13 people in committing 52 armed robberies involving about RM2.5 million in various parts of the country for more than a year.

With Mat Komando's death, the gang had been smashed with nine of its members arrested and four killed in shoot-outs with the police, Norian said.

He said police despatched a special squad of 10 policemen to the village after receiving information that an armed man was hiding in the hut.

"Police asked the man to surrender but he fired repeatedly at the policemen. Police returned fire and killed him. On checking the body, police found that the man was Ahmad Mohd Arshad or Mat Komando," he said.

He said that when police went to check out the information about the armed man, they were not sure that the suspect was Mat Komando.

Police also arrested a 39-year-old man on suspicion of harbouring Mat Komando, he said. The man owns the house where the hut was located.

Following the spate of robberies by the Gang of 13, police launched an operation codenamed "Ops Api Sawit" to hunt down the criminals. The operation was so named because the gang mostly targetted banks and oil palm buyers.

Apart from the 52 armed robberies, the gang was also responsible for two cases of motorcycle theft and an attempted murder, he said.

Norian said police found RM70 in the hut. Mat Komando had short hair and was clean-shaven today, he said.

Mat Komando had escaped the police dragnet three times this year - on Jan 1 in the Pedu Forest Reserve, Kedah; on July 28 in Gemas, Negeri Sembilan; and on Aug 6 in Tikam Batu, Sungai Petani.

Mat Komando was believed to have been hiding in the village since giving police the slip in Tikam Batu on Aug 6, Norian said.

He said the police success today was the result of gathering information to track down the gang.

Norian said police would not be able to recover most of the loot taken by the gang as they lived on their ill-gotten gains.

Some of the nine gang members arrested had been charged while the rest had been placed under restricted residence, he said.

He advised the people not to harbour criminals even if these people were their friends.

"With the busting of this gang, police have now officially closed the Ops Api Sawit," he said.

Mat Komando's body has been sent to the Alor Setar Hospital mortuary for a post-mortem. Several family members were seen there waiting to claim his body.

Present at the news conference were Kedah CPO Datuk Supian Amat and state CID chief ACP Abdul Jalal Mohd Yunus.

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