Almost three years after the suspicious disappearance of Malaysian Pastor Raymond Koh, Voice of the Martyrs Korea is encouraging Korean Christians to support his family by joining with Christians around the world to sign a petition to pressure the Malaysian government to uncover the truth.
On February 13, 2017, Pastor Koh’s car was surrounded and he was kidnapped by at least 15 masked men driving black 4×4 vehicles. Since then, there has been no sign of him or the car he was driving. Furthermore, according to Voice of the Martyrs Korea representative Foley Hyun Sook, law enforcement has had a suspicious reaction to the case.
Pastor Raymond Koh
“When Pastor Koh’s wife, Susanna Koh, went to file a report about her missing husband, they asked if he had encouraged Muslims to convert to Christianity,” Foley explains. “Although we often consider Malaysia to be a ‘moderate’ Muslim nation, converting from Islam to Christianity has become especially controversial in recent years, with many politicians advocating for stronger adherence to Islamic law. Authorities seem to be more concerned about Pastor Koh’s Christian faith than his kidnapping.”
According to Representative Foley, Mrs. Koh had to go door-to-door around the area where witnesses last saw Pastor Koh, asking if anyone had CCTV footage of what had happened. Eventually, she found the footage. The first time she watched, Mrs. Koh was shocked and said,
“It was very professionally done. I couldn’t believe it. I think someone powerful must have ordered my husband’s kidnapping.”
It is believed that Pastor Koh’s kidnapping may be related to several prior threats he received. Pastor Koh ran a charity organization called Harapan Komuniti (Hope Community) which cared for impoverished single mothers, children, drug addicts, and those who were diagnosed with AIDS. According to Representative Foley, some Muslims were upset by the program, viewing it as a trick to convert people to Christianity.
“During a dinner the charity hosted in 2011, thirty officers from the Selangor Islamic department stormed in and took photographs of everyone in attendance,” Foley explains.
“Shortly afterwards, the couple began receiving death threats.”
According to Mrs. Koh, the couple also received an envelope filled with white powder (thought to be anthrax) and a box of bullets. Despite this, Pastor Koh continued his ministry.
After Pastor Koh’s disappearance, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) began an independent investigation. In May 2018, a police whistleblower named Sergeant Shamzaini Mohamed Daud came forward, claiming that the Malaysian Special Branch (Cawangan Khas) was involved in Koh’s disappearance. Within that same month, Sergeant Daud lodged a police report denying he had made such claims.
“We want to give Christians the opportunity to support the wife and family of a truly dedicated servant of God who disappeared nearly three years ago without a trace,” Representative Foley says. “Christians around the world are signing a petition urging the Malaysian government to reveal what they know. Voice of the Martyrs Korea is calling on Korean Christians to join their brothers and sisters globally in calling for the whole truth to be revealed.”
Families of Pastor Raymond Koh
The online petition is available for signature from now through the end of November at www.vomkorea.com/freepastorkoh. Foley says the petition will be delivered to the Malaysian Embassy in Seoul in December.