KUALA LUMPUR: Police have arrested seven youths aged between 11 and 18 in connection with the fire at Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah school, which claimed the lives of 23 students and teachers, early Thursday.
Kuala Lumpur Police chief Datuk Amar Singh Ishar Singh said mocking remarks exchanged between the youths and the students was believed to be the motive behind the tragic fire.
Speaking at an urgent media conference last night, Amar Singh said the seven teenagers were picked up between 6pm Friday and 2.30am yesterday.
“They comprised school leavers and dropouts living around Datuk Keramat area,” he said.
He said all of them have been remanded for seven days from today and investigations would be done under Section 302 of the Penal Code for murder and Section 435 for mischief by fire.
Amar Singh said six of the youths were tested positive for drugs and two had previous criminal records for rioting and vehicle theft.
“Police had also seized five shirts, five pants, four helmets and three motorcycles from the youths, The shirts and pants will be sent to the Chemistry Department for hydrocarbon analysis.
“The individual seen in the viral Malaysian Muslim Consumers Association’s CCTV footage is one of the seven youths arrested,” he explained.
In reply to the question about the two gas cylinders found outside the students’ room on the second floor of the school, Amar Singh said:
“The youths had taken the two gas cylinders from the lower floor of the school and took it to the second floor.
“Investigation also found that there was an accelerant used (at the scene).”
Amar Singh said police were also in the midst of investigating the trace of petrol believed to have been used to accelerate the spread of fire.
On one of the surviving tahfiz students called in for questioning yesterday, he said the student was found not involved.
Meanwhile, Amar Singh also warned the public to stop spreading unverified and false information about the case as it would affect police investigations and proceedings, if the case was brought to court.
“Any individual found to have spread false information could be arrested under Section 203 of the Penal Code,” he said.
The 5.15am fire at the tahfiz school early Thursday morning resulted in the death of 21 students and two teachers. The tragic fire captured nationwide attention with demands for the authority to take stern action to prevent recurrence. –Bernama