PETALING JAYA: Bukit Aman is zeroing in on gangs and secret societies that target housing construction sites for “protection money”.
The police have identified hotspots in Johor, Klang Valley, Penang and Perak where gangs would demand up to more than RM3,000 to ensure that certain housing developments “are not disturbed”.
“The secret societies target sites and business premises that have limited security control. Majority of their victims will comply with their demands because they believe the members of these groups can hurt them or damage their property,” Senior Asst Comm Datuk Rohaimi Md Isa said recently.
According to Bernama, the Bukit Aman Anti-Vice, Gambling and Secret Societies Division (D7) principal assistant director said that based on the intelligence gathered, the secret societies or gangsters dominating an area were the ones usually extorting money from the housing developers, construction site managers, contractors and individuals.
“A total of 914 investigation papers were opened last year on extortion cases involving housing developers, construction site managers, contractors and individuals.
“Between Jan 5 and Jan 7 this year, we received eight tip-offs, and we are conducting intelligence and investigation,” he said, adding that 45 gangsters were detained under the Prevention of Crime Act (Poca) last year.
Selangor CID chief Senior Asst Comm Fadzil Ahmat said police have encountered a number of such extortion cases in the state.
“We are on the lookout for gangs, which prey on housing developers and construction companies. We will not allow them to run rampant,” he said.
The police, according to SAC Fadzil, may use preventive laws such as the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma) and Poca, to curb activities of gangs and secret societies in the state.
Last year, a group of gang members, who were originally charged under Sosma, were freed after a special court sentenced them to a year’s jail to run from the date of arrest on a reduced charge of being members of an unlawful society. This is after their charges were amended from Sosma to Section 43 of the Societies Act 1966.
SAC Fadzil said Selangor police is currently on the hunt for two of the men released, as they have since committed new crimes.
“One man is wanted for the murder of a man in front of a bar in Petaling Jaya while another is connected to the murder of a PKR Youth member,” he said.
“These cases of extortion are on our radar.
“Hunting gangs and secret societies are a priority in the state,” SAC Fadzil said.
Bukit Aman CID director Comm Datuk Seri Wan Ahmad Najmuddin Mohd urged the public to come forward with any pertinent information on extortion activities.
This information can be channelled through the hotlines established nationwide or via WhatsApp to the Bukit Aman Secret Societies Prevention Unit at 011-12277478.
The hotlines are: Perlis (018-9409255); Kedah (011-58914020); Penang (018-9714508); Perak (011-39590439); Selangor (017-2847611); Kuala Lumpur (017-2035767); Negri Sembilan (018-6495106); Melaka (017-8847470); Johor (013-6052467); Pahang (010-2266558); Terengganu (013-9391347); Kelantan (016-3521277); Sabah (013-8928228) and Sarawak (013-5253052).