Relaymedia

Pastor Raymond Koh Update: Wife Says Family is 'Numb' One Month After Abduction, Asks for Prayer

( [email protected] ) Mar 13, 2017 10:38 AM EDT
One month after Pastor Raymond Koh's abduction, his wife has said she has suffered feelings of "numbness, despair, hope, sadness, fear and anger" and urged the international community to continue praying for his safe recovery.
Pastor Raymond Koh disappeared in February, arousing fears he may have been murdered. One month after his abduction, his wife has said she has suffered feelings of "numbness, despair, hope, sadness, fear and anger" and urged the international community to continue praying for his safe recovery. change.org

One month after Pastor Raymond Koh's abduction, his wife has said she has suffered feelings of "numbness, despair, hope, sadness, fear and anger" and urged the international community to continue praying for his safe recovery.

In a lengthy statement issued Monday, Susanna Liew said Pastor Koh's family is "still in the dark as to who abducted him, why they did it and where they have taken him."

She said: "In the month since he was taken away from us, my children and I have swung between feelings of numbness, despair, hope, sadness, fear and anger. From this comes a frustration that there has been no significant breakthroughs in efforts to find my husband."

However, she said that the "immense show of concern and solidarity" the family has received from organizations around the world has given them hope.

"We do not feel we are alone, thanks to the outpouring of support from Malaysians, and their prayers at the many peaceful candlelight vigils held in cities across the country," she said.

As reported, Pastor Koh, 62, was abducted from a street while on his way to a friend's house. Leaked CCTV footage of the attack shows a military-style, professionally executed operation in which seven cars and at least 15 men took part.

The pastor's car was seen turning off a highway as three black SUVs surrounded it and forced it to a stop. At least eight men in black emerged from the SUVs, and another man emerged from a car behind them to record the operation.

Last week, Koh's son, Jonathan, filed a second police report on suspicion that his father was murdered. He explained that the reason for the report was the lack of information or a ransom demand, even though the family had offered a reward of about $22,500.

Liew said her husband's abduction is "unprecedented in Malaysia", as the country has long stood as a global example of multiracial and interfaith harmony.

"This harmony is precious to all of us: it is the foundation on which we stand as a nation," she said. "For many Malaysians, the abduction of my husband, a man of faith who is known in the community for his charity work, is a blow to that harmony. As such, I urge all our leaders to do their best to address and allay this very real fear."

She continued: "It is not just my family who are traumatized by this, but many others who do not even know Raymond, yet feel concern and a deep sense of outrage at what happened to him."

On Thursday, the man was arrested after he made a ransom demand to Koh's family for his release, but in her statement, Liew  expressed hope that the arrest will not distract efforts to find Koh's "real abductors" or discourage others from sharing information.

"I refer to the arrest of a suspect by police in the early hours of Thursday, March 9. As the police have referenced us, the family, in their public statements about this, I would like to clarify the facts from our side," she said.

"A number of text messages were sent to my son Jonathan's mobile number that seemed suspicious and extortionate. On Wednesday, March 8, Jonathan alerted the police to these messages, whose quick work on this led to the arrest.

"While I am happy that the police acted swiftly on this matter, I hope the arrest does not distract attention away from the real abductors and their accomplices or discourage genuine informers to reach out to us," Liew added.

Concluding her statement, Koh's wife thanked those who have "spoken up" regarding her husband's disappearance: "I hope more will step up to send a clear message that Malaysia does not tolerate such acts of criminal violence against anyone, regardless of race, religion, creed or circumstances," she said. "To my fellow Malaysians, thank you for your prayers and support. I hope you continue praying for the safe recovery of my husband Raymond, for us to not lose hope and for our nation to never lose sight of our precious harmony and mutual respect for each other."

Koh was previously at the center of controversy in 2011, when his NGO, Harapan Komuniti, was accused by the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) of attempting to convert Muslims to Christianity following a raid at a thanksgiving and fundraising dinner at the Damansara Utama Methodist Church.

Later, the pastor received a death threat in the form of a bullet that was sent to his home.

So far, a petition urging the Trump administration to help pressure Malaysian authorities to use all their resources to find Pastor Koh has received just over 4,000 signatures.

Tags : Raymond Koh, Pastor Raymond Koh update, Persecution, Malaysia, Muslim, Islam, abduction, kidnap