Ministry keeping tabs on politicians with gang links

Dr Ahmad Zahid (right) chatting with the award recipients after the presentation ceremony at the Kepayan police headquarters in Kota Kinabalu.

KOTA KINABALU - The Home Ministry is keeping a close watch on individuals involved in politics who are also believed to be members of secret societies, says minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

He said they have identified these people in certain political parties. However, he declined to elaborate.

Dr Ahmad Zahid was commenting on the disclosure by former Bukit Aman CID director Tan Sri Zaman Khan that a former convict who had been a triad chief is now a low-ranking leader of a political party in Penang.

Dr Ahmad Zahid also said there was a possibility that the politicians might have repented and left the secret societies.

"As such, it will not be fair to associate them with the secret societies again.

"But, it doesn't mean that we are forgetting them. If they are found to have active connections with triads and secret societies, we will expose them and take legal action against them," he said yesterday.

In Kuala Lumpur, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said police would intensify the nationwide crackdown on gang leaders and their members during Ops Cantas Khas, which was launched in August.

He said there was a 8.2 per cent reduction of serious crimes, of which 1,162 cases were recorded two weeks prior to the launch of the special operation on Aug 17.

"Such cases had dropped to 1,067 cases after that date.

"We have detained gang leaders on top of the countless members picked up during the operation," he told reporters after delivering a keynote address during a forum entitled "Society and Crime: Where are We?" yesterday.

Khalid also said Bukit Aman was working closely with the Thai police in preventing gangs from escaping through the border.

He also said that the police needed sufficient tools to combat crime effectively following the repeal of the Emergency Ordinance and the Internal Security Act.

"The current laws are insufficient to enable us to maintain the security of the people," he added.

In Ipoh, state CID chief Senior Asst Comm Datuk Mohd Dzuraidi Ibrahim said Perak police had set up a special team at the Pengkalan Hulu border checkpoint of the Malaysia-Thai border to nab gang members running to Thailand to get their tattoos removed.

He said nine suspects believed to be members of Gang 36 were arrested from Monday to Wednesday.

He said all of them had tattoos on various parts of their bodies.

The tattoos have the Gang 36, phoenix and fish emblems, while the members have permanent scars when they cut their bodies with knives as part of their gang initiation ceremony.