MALAYSIA - It has become one of the most feared secret societies in Malaysia.
A crime expert, who did not want to be named, told The Star that Gang 36 was originally made up of Chinese members before it was taken over by Indians.
He attributed the gang's evolution to the growing reluctance of its Chinese founding members to get involved in the "nitty-gritty" of organised crime.
"Tired of getting their hands dirty, they recruited Indians to do it," The Star quoted him as saying.
"After some time, the Chinese gangsters were outnumbered by the Indians and before long, it was being seen as an Indian gang. But that is not completely true as most gangs in Malaysia have a racially diverse membership," he said.
The expert said that Chinese members now play a passive role as "investors". They fund the gang's activities which, in turn, allow them to double their money. The expert claimed that the Chinese members have "legitimate jobs like in real estate".
He said the fear surrounding the gang is so much that many criminals use its name to set up their own units. He also said it was difficult to verify the membership of the gang as it was a loosely-knit organisation.
Meanwhile, Malaysian Indian Congress youth chief T Mohan said the influx of Indians into gangs was also due to the country's current socio-economic climate and the unstructured nature of the criminal underworld itself.
He told The Star: "Poverty plays a huge role. More and more Indian youths are driven to join gangs because they feel they have no other way to make a living." Mr Mohan said new gangsters claimed they belonged to a certain gang for the sake of being associated.
He disagreed with talk that the current spate of shootings were coordinated assassinations in a turf war.
He said: "The gangs are not that organised. These shootings are unrelated disputes between small groups, which have a new-found freedom to use firearms."
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