Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Brutal murder of Malaysian man shocks Sydney; road rage suspected.
Police are saying that the fatal assault on Mohd Shah Saemin, outside his unit in Leichhardt on Sunday night, was most likely the result of road rage. But Malaysia is calling for reassurances that it was not a racist hate crime.
Evidence appears to show a very minor collision took place between Saemin's car and a black sedan occupied by two men. As Saemin was stepping out of the car, the two men attacked him with knife and a hammer. He tried to flee but suffered stab wounds and blows to the head. A female passerby attempted to intervene but to no avail.
The attackers fled and were described as having olive skin and curly hair.
This type of attack is absolutely shocking, and moreso if the apparent motive - road rage - is proved to be correct. To react in such a way to a minor traffic accident beggars belief.
Undoubtedly many Malaysians are leaping to the conclusion that the attack was racially motivated; understandable given the recent headlines about attacks on Indian students in Australia.
At this point it doesn't look to me like it was any such thing, although if racism played a role in how it all went down, I wouldn't be altogether surprised. Most likely, the murderers were substance-affected (given the extreme nature of their reaction) and already leading a life of crime (who else goes out on Sunday night with a knife and hammer handy in their car like that?)
Mr Saemin, 43, had lived in Australia for 10 years and had become a citizen. He was described as a soft-spoken man who had worked as a driver for the Malaysian consulate for the past 3 years.
(If you weren't aware, Mohd is pronounced Mohammad, for which it is an abbreviated form.)
UPDATE: A 55-year-old Croydon man has been arrested in relation to the murder. And here I was thinking it would be some young thugs.
UPDATE 2 : Ok, didn't see this coming. The arrested man turns out to be Indonesian-born cab driver Hazairin Iskandar, whose wife worked with Saemin at the consulate and was apparently having an affair with him. The second man appears to be Iskandar's son, who has fled back to Indonesia.
So racism is probably not an issue then. Still, it's messed up. Story here.