Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Malaysian lawyer gunned down

Lawyer Kasim Cha Tong (pic), who gained fame during the 1980s as an anti-piracy enforcer, was gunned down by two assassins at his home in the Thai border town of Sungai Golok.
In the midnight incident yesterday, two assassins whose nationalities are unknown went up to his house in the town centre and knocked on the door.
When Kasim, 57, opened the door, one of the assassins opened fire. Kasim, shot in the chest, died on the spot.
The two assassins fled the scene before neighbours who heard the gunshot could react.
Sungai Golok police chief Lt Phamong Sall confirmed the incident and said 10 pellets penetrated Kasim’s body.
Although seemingly the work of a hitman, Lt Phamong said, the Thai police could not say so for certain until a full investigation was carried out.
Under Thai police procedure, it would take two to three days to prepare an interim investigative report, he added.
Kasim’s body has been taken to the Sungai Golok district hospital for a post-mortem.
Lt Phamong said it was unlikely that the murder was related to the ongoing unrest in southern Thai where three bombings occurred within minutes of each other yesterday, resulting in 62 Thai nationals injured.
Thai anti-government militants would usually either shoot a target from afar or behead a person, seldom resorting to killing someone at close range, he said in an interview.
Sungai Golok, in Narathiwat province, is the second busiest township on the Malaysia-Thai border after Haadyai, which is located in Songkhla province.
Kasim spearheaded efforts to tackle music piracy in the 1980s in the Klang Valley where commercial music was then replicated in cassettes.
He also worked extensively with the Anti-Corruption Agency in preserving the musical copyrights of foreign artistes, his work gaining the recognition of the American Music Copyrights Holders Asso- ciation.
He subsequently read Law in Britain, and on his return several years later decided to reside in Sungai Golok where, it is learnt, his family has business interests.
Kasim is originally from Kelantan, but Malaysian police intelligence operatives also believe he had acquired permanent residence status in Thailand for business reasons.

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