PUTRAJAYA - Police are on the alert for any retaliation by triad members whose alleged leader was savagely attacked at a petrol station in Johor Baru, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
After determining that the motive for the murder was rivalry and competition between two underworld groups, Zahid said police will be on the lookout for fights or incidents that might be linked to the case.
"Police have narrowed down the reason for the attack and have identified the four assailants. They are on a manhunt for the suspects.
"At the same time, the police elite team for anti-vice, gambling and gangsterism is on high alert to counter any act of retaliation by gang members," he said after attending the Home Ministry's monthly assembly.
Police are in the midst of determining the areas in which the rival gangs are operating and whether they were competing for business, territory or other things.
"I have asked the police to continue their operations against underworld activities.
"I have reminded them that there should not be a day that goes by without an operation, be it against drugs, syndicates, vice or gangsterism," he said.
To a question whether or not there was a second victim, Zahid said police would investigate.
On Sunday, a 44-year-old-man, whose name has been given only as Ah Chiu, was savagely attacked by four men after getting out of his Volkswagen Polo at the petrol station in Jalan Pelangi to check his tyres.
The attack, which happened at 7.30pm, was recorded by a witness and the clip went viral on Facebook.
The footage showed the suspects, in a white BMW, trying to pull the victim into their car.
The victim was stabbed after a struggle, causing him to collapse on the ground.
The assailants then ran over the man twice in their car.
In Putrajaya, Deputy Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Noor Rashid Ibrahim said the Johor police chief has been told to form an investigative task force.
He added that the deceased had a police record, but did not elaborate.
In Johor Baru, sources said investigators are now pursuing the angle that the brutal murder was committed over a drug or business deal gone sour.
It is learnt that the victim has had run-ins with the authorities, and was previously arrested and charged for drug-related cases.
Sources said that between 2008 and 2015, there were at least seven cases against the victim in connection with drug consumption and possession.
All the offences were committed within the city area.
"Maybe a deal went sour and a bounty was put out.
"Or maybe an underworld gang is trying to send a message to its rivals," the sources said, adding that police operations against triads would be intensified.