PETALING JAYA - A week-long blitz on gambling dens nationwide only had a 2 per cent success rate, leading police to suspect informers of tipping off the targets.
Police data showed that only 168 of the 9,663 raids that were conducted were successful, in that suspects were picked up and gambling paraphernalia seized.
At many of the other suspected gambling joints, the police raiding teams found the places closed when they arrived, said Federal Secret Societies, Gambling and Vice Division (D7) Principal Assistant Director Senior Asst Comm Roslee Chik.
"The ones that we were successful at raiding were those trying their luck and hoping to escape us," he said.
Police teams could not raid the closed premises because they need to have a warrant before they could enter.
"Moles" within the police force were suspected to be among the informers.
"The informants could be policemen who misuse their police powers for personal gain," said Senior Deputy Comm Datuk Zubaidah Md Ismail, director of Bukit Aman's Integrity and Standard Compliance Department (JIPS).
"We are aware of this problem and we will get to the bottom of it. It is costing us public confidence," she told The Star.
"Identifying the informants is our top priority. We will hunt them down."
Ops Dadu - the codename for the blitz against illegal gambling - kicked off on Oct 26 and ended on Sunday.
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar had launched the operation and set the deadline.
Almost 600 suspects were detained in that period, said SAC Roslee.
Johor has the highest arrests with 323 detained, followed by Selangor with 70 and Kuala Lumpur with 42.
"We also seized 3,453 slot machines or computers (modified for gambling) and about RM37,940 cash believed to be used for the illegal activities," he said.
The second phase of Ops Dadu will target those premises that were closed during the raids.
SAC Roslee said police would return there with a court warrant, as well as local council enforcement personnel to turn off utilities as a means of further preventing the operators from carrying on with their activities.
"We are serious about eradicating illegal gambling in the country," he said. "We have been working day and night since the directive was issued."
"And we have been carrying out constant raids on illegal gambling premises over the past few years (see chart)."
The hunt for the informers will also see district OCPDs and station chiefs on JIPS' radar.
SDCP Zubaidah said the department would now be heading to the states and districts to carry out the next phase of its operation.
"OCPDs and station chiefs will be held accountable if there are any informers in their districts," she said.
Also, they would be issued a 24-hour transfer order if they fail to comply with the IGP's directive to eradicate illegal gambling (in their area), she said.
In the past week, she said, the OCPDs have been submitting daily reports to the IGP.
"But we will see if there are any more illegal gambling centres still operating in their districts," she said.