IN AN effort to get rid of beggars and those who solicit funds on the streets, the Gombak District Welfare Department organised a joint raid that managed to round up 11 people, including a woman, recently.
The raid, held from 8am to 11pm, was led by the Gombak District Welfare Department with help from the police, Selayang Municipal Council (MPS), National Anti-Drugs Agency (AADK), Immigration Department, National Registration Department, Gombak District Health Department and Gombak District Religious Affairs Department.
The beggars, including foreigners, were sent to Dewan Seroja in Kampung Bendahara, Gombak, for questioning.
Popular hotspots for beggars such as the five-foot-way outside banks, night markets, morning markets, KTM Komuter stations, taxi stands and bus stops were targeted during the raid.
Welfare Department officer Mohd Zafri Hamzah said three of those who were picked up had United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR) identification cards.
“Aside from that, none of the others had any identification documents on them. Our aim is to get these beggars off the streets as many people have complained about the influx of beggars in the district.
“If those that we have nabbed have families, we will tell them to get counselling before they return home.
“As for drug-related issues, AADK will handle the matter.
“We interrogate those who have been detained to find out their motives for begging and to see if there are any syndicates behind it.
“We carry out raids every month and it is a big operation as it involves all relevant government agencies,” he said.
Mohd Zafri explained that the Welfare Department had come up with the theme “Bijak membantu, Elak ditipu” which translates to “Offer help wisely to avoid being cheated”.
He said the public had a soft heart to help the needy but many were cheated as some were not legitimate.
“Our raid today also checked to see if any association or society had appointed volunteers to ask for donations from the public.
“Based on our findings, many of those who ask for donations pocket the money for themselves instead of giving them to the association or society,” he said.
MPS special task force chief C. Paramasivam said the raid comprised two teams on rotation to cover all public places.
“We are glad to work hand-in-hand with the Gombak District Welfare Department in getting the beggars off the streets, especially the foreigners.
“It has become a bane to society with so many beggars in Selayang and some even use small children to get people to donate.
“There are even some who are able-bodied with sound minds but still refuse to work and take the easy way out by begging on the street,” he said.