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Trinidad Security Minister on Choo Kong’s murder: Something not adding up

By TRINIDAD GUARDIAN

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Raymond Choo Kong

(TRINIDAD GUARDIAN) — The mur­der of award-win­ning play­wright, pro­duc­er and ac­tor Ray­mond Choo Kong does not add up.

This view was shared yes­ter­day by Na­tion­al Se­cu­ri­ty Min­is­ter Stu­art Young fol­low­ing the open­ing of the Barataria Com­mu­ni­ty Li­brary.

On Mon­day, Choo Kong’s was dis­cov­ered by one of his adopt­ed sons cov­ered in blood while seat­ed in a chair in the liv­ing room of his Green Street, Ari­ma, home.

Choo Kong, 69, was stabbed mul­ti­ple times to the up­per part of his body by his as­sailant. An au­top­sy yester­day re­vealed that he was stabbed eight times to the chest and had de­fen­sive wounds to the hands and fore­arms.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors be­lieved that Choo Kong was a vic­tim of a rob­bery, as his wal­let, a gold ring and cell­phone were stolen by his at­tack­er who made good his es­cape. They are al­so look­ing at oth­er pos­si­ble the­o­ries but have no clear mo­tive as yet.

Po­lice be­lieve that it may al­so be a crime of pas­sion and in­ves­ti­gat­ing of­fi­cers al­so re­ceived in­for­ma­tion that Choo Kong was a vic­tim of rob­bery one week ago and it was pos­si­ble that there was a link to that in­ci­dent.

The third the­o­ry is that Choo Kong was killed dur­ing a home in­va­sion gone awry, how­ev­er, po­lice said there wasn’t enough sup­port­ing ev­i­dence which sug­gests that it was a ran­dom rob­bery.

Pressed by Guardian Me­dia about Choo Kong’s mur­der, Young de­scribed it as a tragedy.

“With Mr Choo Kong I am still wait­ing on a re­port….cer­tain­ly the in­for­ma­tion that has been com­ing to me, I mean, some of us we didn’t sleep last night. We just kept ex­chang­ing…I was there mes­sag­ing the heads of se­cu­ri­ty as to ideas and ini­tia­tives…how are they pro­gress­ing with their in­ves­ti­ga­tion in­to this par­tic­u­lar trag­ic death.”

Young said one of the things that struck him there was no forced en­try in­to Choo Kong’s home.

“Al­so where we found the body.”

He said the vast ma­jor­i­ty of crim­i­nals use il­le­gal firearms to rob peo­ple as op­posed to knives.

“This was a stab­bing death…so these are the things that do not add up and don’t seem to sug­gest that it is a nor­mal rob­bery type sit­u­a­tion.”

He said once the po­lice con­clude their in­ves­ti­ga­tion, more will be re­vealed.

Young ex­tend­ed con­do­lences to Choo Kong’s griev­ing fam­i­ly and friends, stat­ing that he had at­tend­ed many of his plays which he en­joyed.

“He was a fab­u­lous artiste. Al­so, he touched many lives.”

Young said it was up­set­ting to hear the num­ber of mur­ders that had oc­curred from Sun­day in­to Mon­day which were all “un­con­nect­ed” with il­le­gal firearms be­ing the weapon of choice by crim­i­nals.

He said the spike of nine mur­ders in less than 24 hours was “un­ac­cept­able” as it has now be­come to norm for crim­i­nals to be­have bold and brazen.

“I am just say­ing to be cau­tious. I am not say­ing that we don’t have is­sues with crime. Un­for­tu­nate­ly, so­ci­eties around the world have de­te­ri­o­rat­ed when it comes to crime over the past decade. We know what the is­sue is here. It is il­le­gal firearms. There is a lot more preva­lence of il­le­gal firearms that is why we are tack­ling it.”

He ap­pealed to cit­i­zens to put pres­sure on “politi­cians” to get sup­port for the amend­ments in the Firearms Bill, which would serve as a de­ter­rent to gun-tot­ing crim­i­nals who can face life in prison on their third gun of­fence.

“That is go­ing to make peo­ple stop in their tracks.”

Ques­tioned if the TTPS’ re­cent crime-fight­ing ini­tia­tive should fail what would be the Gov­ern­ment’s next step, Young said when “pres­sure is ap­plied” on the crim­i­nal el­e­ments “you see the drop…and you see the de­crease. As soon as that eas­es up you have these spo­radic spurts. So what I have asked is that we find a way to main­tain it…sus­tain­abil­i­ty. And we have cer­tain things in place.”

Soon, Young said there would be changes in the TTPS to bet­ter utilise its re­sources which would bring ad­di­tion­al re­sult.

A sug­ges­tion to im­pose a state of emer­gency in hot spot ar­eas, Young said this was not an op­tion.

“The Gov­ern­ment is not look­ing at a state of emer­gency. It is al­so a fal­la­cy that you can call a lim­it­ed state of emer­gen­cies in cer­tain ar­eas. You call a state of emer­gency is coun­try-wide and then you can put ap­pro­pri­ate re­sources…ab­solute­ly not.”

Young gave the as­sur­ance that his min­istry and the TTPS will go all out to bring the crime wave down.

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