KUCHING: The police have managed to curtail affiliations between some thug gangs in the state and the more organised secret societies in the peninsula.
State deputy police commissioner SAC Datuk Law Hong Soon said they were well aware that some gang members here were trying to form alliances with the bigger top gangs in the peninsula like Wah Kee and Ang Beng Hui but they had managed to thwart them.
“Most of the gangs in Sarawak are more localised to certain areas but among them, some may have some connections with the better-organised groups in the peninsula. We have information on this and we know who these people are. We are watching them closely,” he told a press conference here yesterday where he gave updates on the ongoing “Ops Cantas”.
It was learnt later that the affiliations did not work out due to several reasons, the strongest one being the immigration laws which the state has full autonomy over.
SAC Law said there were 16 gangs identified in the state which were part of the 49 illegal gangs in Malaysia which were publicly revealed on Aug 30. Nonetheless, he said the ones here were mainly thug gangs and not well-structured like the bigger ones in the peninsula.
So far, he added, the state police had not found any gang that had their own symbols and specific identification tattoos. He was also quick to point out that state did not have better-organised illegal societies was because the police had swooped down on gangs during Ops Cantas Kenyalang in 2007.
During that time, many of the gangsters were put away at the height of their activities, he said.
“So, this is like our second phase of Ops Cantas. Back then, the police arrested 83 gang members under the Emergency Ordinance and many were retained and rehabilitated.
“Once they have completed their penalties, they returned to society to start a new life. We do monitor them still and found that some have indeed turned over a new leaf.”
SAC Law admitted, however, that there were still some among them who returned to their old life of crime.
He said the present 16 gangs were centred in cities and major towns namely Miri, Bintulu, Sibu and here.
SAC Law said the police were also using the current operations to update their records on the gangs, and that anyone found to be associated with them would be deemed to have committed an offence.
He said the police were also keeping close tabs on secondary schools and institutions of higher learning to monitor gangsterism. So far, there has been no reports of gangs in any school.
SAC Law said from the start of the nationwide launch of Ops Cantas till Sept 11, the state police had checked 6,635 individuals, arrested 159 for various offences, inspected 4,850 vehicles during roadblocks and issued 518 summonses to traffic offenders.
He said the police had also conducted several raids on entertainment houses and also places frequented by gangsters.
During the operations, he said, the police also confiscated a variety of dangerous weapons like samurai swords, machetes, kwangtau, knuckle dusters, and knives.
He said even though Sarawak did not have the Crime Prevention Act, the police here had the Criminal Procedure Code and provisions in the Societies Act to bring criminals to justice.
SAC Law also revealed that there were two gang members wanted for murder and attempted murder. They are believed to be still in the state.
They are Lau Ngie Ung @ Lao San whose last address is No. 7B, Lorong 3, Jln Lim Han Swee, Sibu, and Tang Tung Chai @ Ah Tak whose last address is No.3A, Jln Kelapa, Sibu.
Anyone with information on them are encouraged to contact the police.