Guards and their families to be vetted thoroughly

Guards and their families to be vetted thoroughly

PUTRAJAYA - Police are going to scrutinise security companies, their employees and kin to find if they have links to gang members.

Deputy Home Minister Datuk Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the Bukit Aman Special Task Force on Anti-Vice, Gaming and Anti-Gangsterism would look into several angles to unearth gang links but admitted that it would not be easy.

The first was to screen the boards of directors of security companies and employees in administration to find out whether any of them were being funded by gangs, have worked with or have familial connections to gang members, he said.

"But these people are smart. They use proxies to fill their organisation. They have no criminal record (of their own) but they are reporting to the gangs," said Wan Junaidi.

"So trying to associate a company with these gangs is going to involve real tedious police work, because while we want to do the right thing, we don't want to victimise people wrongly," he said, pointing out that the industry hired nearly 300,000 people nationwide.

He added that police would also look into the "legitimacy" of the businesses and whether they adhered to the requirements of the Private Agencies Act.

"This is also hard as these companies have done all they can to adhere to the conditions and look like they are following the rules."

Wan Junaidi said the Certified Security Guards initiative was an ongoing exercise to train and vet guards in the industry. About 14,821 guards had been trained and vetted since 2014.

The ministry had earlier made it compulsory for companies to send at least 10 per cent of their local guards for training at police academies in order for them to renew their annual licence. Wan Junaidi said the ministry might increase the requisite to 20 per cent by 2016.

The ministry has revoked 27 security licences for breaches of the Private Agencies Act since 2013 and have arrested 814 illegal security guards in nationwide raids.

Yesterday, The Star front-paged the plight of several residents associations that had hired security guards with links to gangs and were being made to pay a form of protection money to their own guards.

While some claimed their guards were gang members or ex-convicts who are poorly trained, others claimed fights regularly broke out in their neighbourhoods because rival gangs wanted to seize control of the business in that area.

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