Married women among 18 nabbed for 'khalwat'

BUTTERWORTH - A married woman has been caught in a hotel room for khalwat (close proximity) with a younger man while her husband was on a trip to Vietnam.

She was among nine men and nine women, aged between 22 and 40, nabbed by the Penang Islamic Religious Affairs Department (JAIPP) in an operation codenamed Ops Jejak Kasih which started at 5.30pm on Friday and ended at 3am yesterday.

A businessman who was caught earlier begged the enforcement officers not to call his wife.

A check later showed that five of the women and three men were married.

All of them will be investigated for khalwat under Section 27 of the Penang Syariah Criminal Offences Enactment, which carries a fine of up to RM3,000 (S$1,100), two years' jail or both.

JAIPP enforcement head Khairul Azman Azizan said they had identified three hotels and budget hotels offering hourly rates to such lovebirds.

Another 26-year-old man was arrested in Kampung Benggali here for purchasing a bottle of vodka during the operation.

He claimed that the liquor was for a friend but he could not provide the name or handphone number of the so-called friend when pressed further by the enforcement officers.