GEORGE TOWN: A “Datuk Seri” businessman, believed to the top boss of Gang 24, which is known for its protection rackets and illegal moneylending, has been nabbed at a casino.
He was one among 28 of the triad’s top leaders caught during a week-long operation codenamed Ops Cantas Khas in Penang, Kuala Lumpur, Pahang and Singapore.
Sources said the businessman was nabbed at a casino where more than RM100,000 in cash and gambling chips were found on him.
“He had been on the ‘radar’ of the police for some time, after investigations showed that he was the ‘number one’ boss of Gang 24, especially active in the northern region.”
A background check also showed that he had been arrested numerous times over the past 20 years for gang fighting and extortion, among other crimes, the sources said.
The Datuk Seri was nabbed by a Bukit Aman team on Jan 28.
Most of the triad leaders, in their mid-20s and 30s, were nabbed in various parts of Penang including Bayan Baru and Bukit Tengah in the operation that started on Jan 28.
Police waited for them to return home for Chinese New Year to spend time with their families before nabbing them.
Bukit Aman believed they had crippled the gang with the arrest of the Datuk Seri and his deputies.
They are still a few of the gang leaders at large and the police are tracking them down.
It is learnt that action under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (Sosma), which allowed for a 28-day detention period, will be taken against them.
They will likely be sent to the Simnpang Renggam Rehabilitation Centre in Johor.
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar congratulated his personnel on the success of Ops Cantas Khas in a posting on his Facebook page on Friday.
On Dec 1, the gang’s No. 2 – known as ‘Datuk M’ for Datuk Muda – was shot dead by his bodyguard.
Gang 24 became “a super gang” after it merged with the Sio Sam Ong (“Three Little Emperors”) triad which was behind the slaying of six people in Taman Bersatu, Sungai Petani, during a pre-wedding dinner in September 1992.
Police have not ruled out the possibility that it was branching out into drug trafficking. Itwas one of 14 secret societies closely monitored by the police.