PUTRAJAYA - The authorities are not just going after 49 organisations that the Home Ministry identified as secret societies. They will hit them where it hurts - by freezing and even seizing their assets.
The 49 groups have been gazetted as unlawful to enable the Insolvency Department to "wound up all their assets and properties and block all forms of transactions", according to the Home Ministry.
Its secretary-general Datuk Abdul Rahim Mohd Radzi said the triad groups had 40,313 members nationwide and their activities range from drug trafficking to murder, extortion, vehicle repossession and gang warfare.
He told a press conference here yesterday that the majority of members were Indians (28,926) followed by Chinese (8,214), Malays (1,923), Sarawakians (921) and Sabahans (329).
The gazette which took effect on Wednesday was made under a provision of Section 5 of the Societies Act 1966 (Act 335) which gives the Home Minister the authority to declare a society unlawful.
"It provides for the arrest and prosecution of people who use the names, symbols and premises of the gangs or identify themselves as members," said Abdul Rahim.
Among the most active triad societies named is Gang 04, an Indian-majority group whose 5,440 members in Kedah, Penang, Johor and Kuala Lumpur are known to be involved in drug pushing, extortion, car repossession and crimes involving firearms or dangerous objects.