A pastor believed to have been abducted because he shared his Christian faith with Muslims in a country enforcing a strict Islamic code-- and whose 2017 kidnapping was caught in chilling footage-- is the subject of a new petition urging the Malaysian government to send Raymond Koh back to his family.
Pastor Koh was abducted in a 40-second operation during which his captors nabbed him while he was driving in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia in February 2017. CCTV footage shows his car swiftly boxed in by a convoy of black SUVs and motorcycles before several men jump out and run to Koh. After a flurry of activity, the convoy moves on with his car.
But Koh has been missing ever since.
"We miss him a lot," the pastor's wife, Susanna, told Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) Radio. "The hardest part is not knowing where he is, what happened to him, and how he is doing right now."
VOM, a group focused on Christian persecution around the world, believes Koh's abduction was connected to rumors he evangelized Muslims -- a crime under the Southeast Asian nation's strict Islamic legal code.
The apparent broad-daylight abduction was witnessed by other drivers, some of whom filed police reports. The BBC reports the country has seen an "unprecedented" amount of disappearances, raising fears of religious vigilantism.
Following an extensive public inquiry, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia said a special police intelligence team was responsible for the "forced disappearance," but no arrests have been made and, 32 months since he was kidnapped, the pastor has not been seen or heard from and his car remains missing.
VOM launched a website, "Release Raymond," petitioning the Malaysian government to reveal what happened. The online petition, which has been signed by more than 31,000 people from 128 countries, is set to be delivered to the Malaysian embassy in Washington, D.C.
The abduction wasn't the first time Koh was targeted for his faith, according to his family. He previously received a box of bullets in the mail, warning him to stop his ministry.
Despite all the questions, however, Koh's wife said she remains grateful.
"But we thank God for the Christian community and, also, the worldwide church that has been an encouragement to us," Susanna told VOM Radio. "They have expressed their support through prayers and sending postcards to us and I think that really lifts up our spirits and encourages us in many ways."