According to the South China Morning Post, one man was killed and a dozen other people wounded early on Thursday (October 9) when a hand grenade detonated in a tourist section of Malaysia’s capital in what police suspect was related to a gangland turf battle.
Police said the most seriously hurt, a parking attendant, succumbed to his injuries in the hospital following the pre-dawn blast outside a pub in the bustling Bukit Bintang neighborhood, a popular area for shopping, dining and nightlife.
“We believe it was a hand grenade that was placed in front of a pub,” Kuala Lumpur police chief Tajudin Mohamad Isa said, noting that an unexploded grenade was also found.
Zainol Samah, police chief of the district where the incident took place, said there were thirteen casualties.
In addition to the Malaysian parking lot attendant, two Chinese nationals, eight other Malaysians, one Singaporean and one Thai were injured.
COMMENT: Police said the motive in the incident is being investigated, but another top police official said a gangland feud is suspected.
A heavily damaged minivan could be seen at the scene of the incident, which was roped off by a massive police presence.
Such incidents are generally rare in Malaysia, but public concern has steadily grown over rising crime.
That concern spiked last year with an explosion of gun violence that authorities blamed on rival gangs battling over turf, prompting a tough anti-crime crackdown.
Authorities also have warned recently of the potential for Islamic militant violence, after saying scores of Malaysians had joined the bloody civil war in Syria.
Officials fear they will become radicalized there by Islamic State (IS) and bring back violent extremist views or inspire anti-Western attacks by supporters in Malaysia, where a moderate brand of Islam currently prevails.
Police said in August they had arrested 19 people in an amateurish IS-inspired plot to carry out a wave of bombings in Malaysia.
Police officials have thus far shown no evidence of a terrorist connection to Thursday's grenade detonation.