Vikenes Vesvanathan, a 19 year-old sixth-form student, and two of his friends, Katiravan Tamilchelvam (25) and Puvaneswaran Subramanium (24), were shot dead by police in Nilai, Negri Sembilan on 10 October 2003. Police claimed that the men had been staking out a bank
in preparation for a robbery, and that when their car was followed by police they sped away, crashed, and on alighting refused to surrender and opened fire on the police.
The police stated they returned fire killing all three men, whom they claimed were linked to at least 20 cases of
armed robbery. Police reportedly cordoned off the area where they were shot before the shooting, and reported that guns and bullets were found in the car.
Vikenes’ family disputed the police version of events insisting that their son, a high school student, had no criminal record and was not, as alleged, a “marksman and a weapons expert”. According to a police report lodged by a friend of Vikenes who saw his body in the mortuary,
there were two gunshot wounds to Vikenes’ chest, but his shirt (which the police refused to release) had no bullet holes in it. He also claimed that there were bruise marks on his face, legs and back. In addition, the brother of Puvaneswaran stated “there were about four or five
red bruises on the back of his [brother’s] body which looked like cane marks. His lips were also swollen and his nose bleeding.”
A post-mortem report found that there were two gunshot wounds to Vikenes’ upper chest. In findings that increased his relatives’ mistrust of the police version of events, the
report stated that the wounds showed bullets had exited the body, suggesting that the firing may have taken place at close range.