Suspect in murder of Irishman in Malaysia ‘may have fled to Thailand’

Body of Brian Patrick O’Reilly (50) was discovered in an apartment in Penang

Brian Patrick O’Reilly (50), whose body was discovered in an apartment block in the city of Penang. Photograph: Royal Malaysia Police

Police investigating the murder of an Irishman in Malaysia believe the culprit may have fled across the border into Thailand.

The body of the man, who has been named locally as Brian Patrick O’Reilly (50), was discovered in an apartment block in the city of Penang.

Mr O’Reilly was an Irish citizen and held an Irish passport but is understood to have also held a South African passport. It is believed he worked in Information Technology.

A spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs said it was aware of the case and providing consular assistance to Mr O’Reilly’s family.


Investigators believe he was struck on a head with a large object before his throat was cut. He also received a stab wound to the stomach, according to local media organisation Free Malaysia Today.

Penang police chief for the northeast district Che Zaimani Che Awang said CCTV showed Mr O’Reilly leaving the home on Friday night, March 1st. Later footage showed a man entering Mr O’Reilly’s apartment early on Saturday morning and then a “Caucasian man” leaving the building alone that afternoon carrying a bag.

“We feel this man is the key suspect in the murder,” Mr Zaimani told the media.

The man, seen carrying a duffle bag, was said to have persuaded a local woman to drive him to the town centre so he could “get on a van to Thailand”.

While a motive has yet to be established, police are investigating the possibility of the murder arising from a dispute over money.

A handwritten note discovered at the scene read: “I respected the police and still do but justice sometimes has to be gained. I hate you mafia killing scamers [SIC], I love my girl and she is dead.”

The note was written on a page torn from the book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck.

A man in his 40s and a woman in her 30s were arrested in connection with the investigation but police said the “fair-skinned foreign man” seen leaving the apartment was key to their inquiries.

Penang state police chief commissioner Naranesegaran Thangaveloo said it was working with Interpol on the case.

Sorcha Pollak

Sorcha Pollak

Sorcha Pollak is an Irish Times reporter and cohost of the In the News podcast