MALACCA - It is the sort of girl power that Malaysia can do without. There are 1,300 female triad leaders in the country, says a crime prevention body.
Apparently, these leaders are recruiting more schoolgirls to join their gangs.
United Malaysia Crime Prevention Organisation (UMCPO), which works closely with the Home Ministry, revealed that at least 12 per cent of the notorious gangs' members were females.
UMCPO national chairman A. Balakrishnan said gangs like 36, 21, 24, 555, 303, 04, 08 and Satu Hati all have female wings, with their leaders providing "protection" to schoolgirls who are forced to pay for it.
Acting Penang Criminal Investigation Department chief P. R. Gunarajan confirmed that female triad leaders were infiltrating schools in the state to recruit members.
"They are part of the bigger gangs and act as wing leaders. They want to be recognised as 'tai kah cheh and akka' (big sisters) and my men are monitoring their activities. Officers here have been in touch with schools to prevent the recruitment of female students into gangs," he said.
Mr Balakrishnan said the police had informed them about the number of schoolgirls and women who were part of these gangs.
"These girls also engage in fights and intimidate others into paying gang fees," he said.
Mr Balakrishan said that, based on Bukit Aman police headquarter's statistics, violent crimes involving girls and women have been rising. They comprised about 10 per cent of offences committed - including assault, robbery and drug-related crimes - last year.
Mr Balakrishan said the increase in reports of female bullying also suggested that females could be as violent as male gangsters. He said UMCPO's data showed there were about 1,300 active female gang leaders.
Malacca's Private Sector, Human Resource and NGOs Committee chairman M. S. Mahadevan said the state was seeking the help of women-based non-governmental organisations to address violence among schoolgirls.
He said gangs like 36, 04 and the new Johor Baru-based Sorna Sisters were now recruiting members in the state.
Sorna Sisters is named after a violent female character in a Tamil movie.
Mr Mahadevan said he had seen videos of female gangs in action, with some of the footage taken in Malacca.