KUALA LUMPUR: No "green light" has been given to illegal gambling syndicates to operate nationwide, says Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador.
The Inspector-General of Police said he was aware of false statements from the syndicates claiming that Bukit Aman has purportedly given them the go-ahead to operate.
"The lie which has been spread since late last year was meant to thwart raids and operations against the syndicates. The baseless allegation also stated that all gambling premises can resume operations by mid-January or by Chinese New Year," he said.
When contacted on Saturday (Jan 23), Abdul Hamid added that the claim that Bukit Aman has given the syndicates the green light to be active is a "malicious lie".
The IGP added that he has already reminded all CID officers and personnel to be brave in taking action any syndicate's "tauke" (bosses) as they have ruined the lives of many people.
"I deeply appreciate the efforts of the honourable men and women of the police force in curbing any illegal gambling element. I pushed for the Prevention of Crime Act (Poca) to be used against the syndicates," said Abdul Hamid.
He added that he also called for any foreigners found to be involved to be declared "persona non grata" and said that he has brought the matter up with the Immigration Department director-general.
Abdul Hamid said such approaches are essential as the gambling habit has become a serious problem among Malaysians.
"Many gamblers are stuck in the debt trap and there are also those who have committed crimes to fund their gambling habit," he said.
The country's top cop urged the public to contact the police if they have any information on illegal gambling activities.
He also saluted the efforts of the Ampang Jaya police on their bust of an illegal gambling syndicate on Friday.
The latest bust led to 18 people arrested while many items were seized.
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