GEORGE TOWN: Eleven of the 156 members of the Penang Voluntary Patrol Unit (Pasukan Peronda Sukarela or PPS) arrested on Sunday were found to have criminal records, including one for being a member of a secret society, said Penang police chief Datuk Abdul Rahim Hanafi.
He said according to police records, the 11 had been involved in intimidation, robbery, theft, culpable homicide not amounting to murder, drugs or offences under the Customs Act.
"Our investigations found one of them, aged 50, to be a member of a secret society and was once detained under the Emergency Ordinance.
"Four of the 156 arrested tested positive for drugs. The urine samples of the four men, aged between 26 and 64 years, will be sent to the Chemistry Department and police will wait for the report to see whether they tested positive for drugs due to the medicines they took," he said.
On Sunday, police arrested 156 PPS members including its chairman, Phee Boon Poh, who is also state welfare, caring society and environment committee chairman, for ignoring warnings not to carry out any of activities after it PPS was deemed an illegal body as it was not registered with the Registrar of Societies (ROS).
Abdul Rahim said 21 of them, including seven women, were later released Sunday on police bail, while 135 were being remanded until Monday after police obtained remand orders.
"We will complete the investigation papers as soon as possible to be sent to the prosecution unit head. The investigation papers were opened under Section 43 of the Societies Act 1966," he said.
He said the 156 PPS members arrested Sunday were aged between 18 to 67 years old, and were made up of public servants, traders, private sector workers and college students.
Abdul Rahim said following their detention, police seized 154 purple T-shirts and vests and berets worn by them, walkie-talkies and their PPS membership cards.
"Police will also take action against all the other PPS members if they don't surrender themselves, and we will investigate. So far, we have the data of more than 30% of the nearly 10,000 PPS members," he noted.
He said police had never received the list of PPS members for security screening before they were recruited as claimed by the state government.
Abdul Rahim also denied that the arrests of the PPS members were politically motivated, as police had acted based on the law because PPS was not registered with ROS. - Bernama