Police in Australia have tracked down the mastermind in the murder of Sarawak PKR leader Bill Kayong, Australian High Commissioner to Malaysia Rod Smith said today.
“But his extradition to Malaysia is subject to a legal process in Australia,” he told reporters after paying a courtesy call to Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem.
When pressed to say if this meant Australia would facilitate the individual’s extradition to Malaysia, Smith declined to elaborate.
Malaysia and Australia have a formal extradition agreement, but Australian law prevents the country from returning a fugitive to any nation where the person may be subject to the death penalty.
Murder in Malaysia is a capital offence. The same complication has prevented Australia from repatriating former police commando Sirul Azhar Umar who fled there before his conviction for murdering Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu was upheld here.
“There is nothing much I can say about that case, apart from saying that the extradition is subjected to the legal process in Australia,” he explained.
The alleged mastermind, a Datuk, is one of two suspects still at large; another suspect surrendered to Miri police on August 18.
Sarawak police have sought the assistance of Interpol in the hunt for the alleged mastermind behind the murder of Kayong, who was shot at a traffic light junction in Lutong in Miri on June 21.
Sarawak Criminal Investigation Department (CID) chief Senior Assistant Commissioner Dev Kumar had said the alleged mastermind fled to Melbourne, Australia via Singapore in July 3.
On July 15, the main suspect, Mohamad Fitri Pauzi, 29, was charged with Kayong’s murder, while the second accused, Lie Chang Loon, 37, was charged with abetting him in the crime.
Following the murder, the police formed a special task force consisting of CID officers from Bukit Aman and Sarawak to conduct the investigation.
Nine people, including a 22-year old woman, were picked up from several locations in Miri to help the police in their investigation. Seven were later released after their statements were taken.
The police also seized a shotgun, believed to be the murder weapon, from the house of one of the two accused.
Kayong, 43, whose Muslim name is Mohd Hasbie Abdullah, was an advocate of social issues, especially indigenous rights and land issues.
In the May 7 state election, he contested but lost to Rosey Yunus of the Barisan Nasional in Bekenu.