KUCHING, Feb 17, 2016:

Police had to open fire to arrest one of three lorry thieves in Bintulu, about 600km from here early today.

Sarawak CID chief SAC Dev Kumar M. M. Sree Shunmugam said the man was shot in the left leg as he tried to attack a police inspector with an axe.

The two others ran away into some undergrowth, he said in a statement.

Dev Kumar said a patrolling team of five policemen from the Bintulu CID led by Insp Nixon Malang spotted three men stealing a one-tonne lorry at a construction site in Samalaju, Bintulu at 3.20am.

The policemen gave chase as the lorry sped off and managed to overtake the lorry and block its path at Km45 of the Bintulu-Miri Road, he said.

The suspects abandoned the lorry and began to run into some undergrowth, he said, adding that Nixon grabbed one of them but the suspect tried to attack him with an axe.

“In order to defend himself, Nixon had to shoot the suspect on his left leg. The suspect was then apprehended. Nixon sustained laceration wounds on his left arm,” he said.

He said the suspect, a 33-year-old unemployed man from Niah, Miri, some 750km from here, was undergoing treatment for the gunshot wound at the Bintulu Hospital.

Dev Kumar said the police had mounted a hunt for the two other suspects.

A preliminary investigation showed that the suspect was a member of a syndicate specialising in stealing four-wheel-drive vehicles and lorries in Bintulu.

He said police seized the abandoned lorry and the owner, a contractor, had lodged a police report on the theft.

“I congratulate the Op Lejang team led by Nixon for its alertness and using force not more than necessary to effect the arrest. We hope to arrest the remaining members of the syndicate soon and cripple this syndicate,” Dev Kumar said.

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