On 13 February 2017, Pastor Raymond Koh was abducted in broad daylight by secret state police in Malaysia. The court case looking into his disappearance is continuing, with his wife, Susanna, taking to the stand as a witness. Please continue to pray for God’s hand on her and the trial.
Susanna is thankful for your prayers for her and her family as the court case into her husband's abduction continues
“We hope that through this we can get justice and the truth will come out.”Susanna Koh
On Monday 6 November, the court case into Pastor Raymond Koh’s disappearance continued with a visit to the site where he was abducted. Susanna showed both the defence and the judge the routes that Raymond would’ve taken on the 13 February 2017, starting from the Koh residence, all the way to the point of the abduction. The judge was also able to see the residential homes from which the CCTV footage was extracted.
During the site visits, Johnathan Koh (Susanna and Raymond’s son) was given a chance to explain how he and his family obtained the footage and how the incident took place according to what was captured by the CCTV. According to Johnathan’s testimony, the police told him that all of the CCTV cameras along that route were not functioning on the day of the abduction.
“Our hope is that the judge can really see that this really happened, and it is not just a number,” Susanna says. “Pastor Raymond is not part of a statistic, but [this] was an event that took place… and we hope that through this we can get justice and the truth will come out. It will prevail.”
Later in the day, the trial continued with the third witness, Sri Ram, current head of Raymond Koh’s NGO Komuniti Harapan (Community of Hope), taking the stand to be cross-examined by the defence.
Sri Ram told the court about the raid that happened after the abduction. The raid took place in one of Harapan’s community centres. The police entered the building – despite Sri Ram’s refusal – without a warrant. While this was going on, the people already inside the building were not allowed to leave the premises; photos and videos were taken without permission.
Sri Ram also pointed out that he was called for questioning following the abduction. He recalled how he was treated during the questioning, where the police were said to be very ‘rough’. Their attitude only changed when his lawyer finally made it to the police station.
On Tuesday 7 November, Sri Ram’s cross-examination was concluded and Susanna Koh took the stand to testify as the fourth witness. “This is the time for you to tell the court what really happened,” Susannah’s lawyer reminded her before they started.
Susanna’s witness statement consisted of details of incidents that took place before and after the abduction. “On August 26, 2011, we received a small package left at our home. It contained a note written in red and a cigarette box with two bullets. It was a death threat against my husband,” Susanna told the court.
According to her, this incident took place before the abduction, and following a church raid that happened at a fundraising dinner held at the Damansara Utama Methodist Church (DUMC) on 3 August 2011.
“To date, I do not know the outcome of the police investigation into the threat on our lives.”Susanna Koh
The raid was said to be a response to an allegation made that the DUMC was evangelising to Muslims. In Malaysia, although they practice freedom of religion, non-Muslims are not allowed to evangelise to Muslims. Susanna made a report on this threat but she never received any response from the police.
“The police never informed me or my husband of the results of their investigation, despite our repeated requests,” she shared. “To date, I do not know the outcome of the police investigation into the threat on our lives.”
Susanna continued by stating that, before the abduction, there had been multiple times when she and her husband faced difficulty at the Malaysian border when entering the country. They were often stopped and questioned by the government’s special force.
After the abduction, Susanna told the court that, when the police report was made, she and her family were treated poorly. The police did not question them about the disappearance; instead, they were questioning Susanna about her husband’s activities with the Harapan Community. They wanted to know if he was evangelising to Muslims. Because of this, Susanna started to lose hope in the police force, which led her to turn to the media – despite multiple warnings from the police force not to do so.
“Raymond never hesitated to lend a helping hand to anyone regardless of ethnicity, race, or religion”Susanna Koh
Because there was no action from the police to investigate Raymond’s disappearance, Susanna and her children started their own investigation. This was when they obtained the CCTV footage of the abduction. This same CCTV footage, without their knowledge, had gone viral and soon the whole of Malaysia knew about the disappearance of Pastor Raymond Koh. Since the footage went viral, the police set up a few conferences, giving updates on their investigation, which always ended with: "The case is still under investigation."
When Susanna was asked about Raymond’s character, she said tearfully, “He was a very loving, affectionate and kind husband and father. As a pastor and social worker, he never hesitated to lend a helping hand to anyone regardless of ethnicity, race, or religion, and to make a difference in their lives.”
The hearing has now been adjourned to 12 and 14 December where Susanna will continue to give her witness statement. Open Doors partners are continuing to support Susanna and her family during this crucial time. Thank you for your continued prayers.
We’re launching the 2024 World Watch List in parliament on Wednesday 17 January – and your MP can be there! The event will inform MPs about the top 50 countries where following Jesus costs the most, with new research, first-hand accounts from persecuted Christians, and recommendations on how the government can respond practically.
Your support helps persecuted Christians continue to courageously follow Jesus.
Together, we can reach those where persecution hits hardest.