KUALA LUMPUR: Police have busted a notorious kidnapping syndicate that had raked in more than RM8mil in at least nine known kidnapping cases.
The syndicate which had been active for the past few years was crippled with the arrest of 16 of its members, including three women.
Federal deputy CID director Senior Asst Comm 1 Shatar Abdul Jalil said police first raided a house in Penang last Friday and seized two pistols and 48 live bullets.He said following that, police raided another house in Seremban on Monday and seized a pistol, eight live bullets, three hand grenades, two handcuffs and a ski mask.
Initial investigation reveals that the syndicate had been active in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Johor and Kedah.
All the victims were aged between seven and 54 years old.
However, SAC Shatar said all the victims were released safely after ransom was paid by family members, although some of them were injured.
“The suspects usually demand for ransom amounting from RM1mil to RM50mil,” he said, adding the higest paid so far was RM8mil in one of the cases.
Police are still tracing several of the syndicate members who are still at large.
He also said police are investigating if the syndicate members were involved in other criminal activities.
The suspects, aged between 21 and 41, are being detained under the Kidnapping Act 1961 and Firearms Act 1977 to facilitate investigations.
SAC Shatar also stressed that the kidnapping syndicates in the country have become more violent recently.
“They are using dangerous weapons in their activities causing death or serious injuries to the victims,” he added.
He was commenting on the gruesome murder of 16-year-old Lai Ying Xin, who was strangled before her body was set on fire in Kulai, Johor Baru, on Tuesday.