SINGAPORE - Feeling the heat from the massive operation to flush out gangsterism, triad members are turning to neighbouring countries for help.
This is the reason behind the Malaysian police's focus on the country's borders, including its entry and exit points.
"We will monitor all the entry and exit points at the borders to prevent them from fleeing to neighbouring countries," Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar said.
He added that Malaysian police might be collaborating with the authorities in neighbouring countries to arrest gang members on the wanted list.
Bernama reported on Thursday that security has since been tightened on the Malaysia-Thailand border in Pengkalan Hulu.
"A special team is manning the border checkpoints to stop triad members from fleeing the country to remove their gang's tattoo," said Perak CID chief Mohd Dzuraidi Ibrahim, referring to gang members who flee to Thailand to remove their tattoos, which reveal gang connections, The Star reported.
As for Singapore, the historical links between gangs in Singapore and Malaysia may have been present two decades ago, said a former gang member who wanted to be known only as Andy.
But he has heard only of gang members in Singapore fleeing to Malaysia, and not vice-versa.
The 51-year-old former Sa Lak Kau (Hokkien for 369) gang member told The New Paper: "When I used to be involved in gangs, I noticed that quite a number of them, when they were wanted, they would usually roll over to Malaysia to avoid being detected.
"There, they would gain a foothold and broaden their connections."
Arrangements would be made prior to their escape, added Mr Andy, who renounced his connections with the gang since converting to Christianity a decade ago and is now in a halfway home.
"They would call their contacts in Malaysia beforehand, so that they would not find themselves lost in a different country," Mr Andy said.
"The Malaysian gangsters, who know the country inside out, would then guide them on where to go and introduce them to the people they need to know."
"The gang heads who have successfully escaped to Malaysia will still have henchmen in Singapore. The heads will then call their henchmen over to Malaysia and everyone will befriend one another," he said.
For the more notorious gangs like Sa Lak Kau, they would even have a "station" in Malaysia, he added.
In response to TNP's queries, a Singapore Police Force (SPF) spokesman said: "The SPF enjoys a very close working relationship with the Royal Malaysia Police (RMP).
"If approached, we will provide the necessary assistance and support to the RMP in accordance with our laws and mutually agreed framework."
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