PETALING JAYA, Malaysia - The full brunt of the police force is being used in a blitz against violent criminals with more than 1,000 people, mostly gangsters, nabbed within a week.
The operation, code-named "Ops Cantas Khas" is meant to send a clear signal that gangsters and elements of the underworld will not be tolerated.
Bukit Aman anti-vice, gambling and secret societies' division head Senior Asst Comm Datuk Jalil Hassan said 1,018 people were detained during raids in Selangor, Penang, Negri Sembilan, Kuala Lumpur and Johor since Aug 17.
"Most of those nabbed are members of the notorious Gang 36, Gang 08 and Gang 04," he said, adding that police also seized 13 weapons, including pistols, machetes and knives and recovered 36 stolen vehicles.
SAC Jalil commended the public for providing positive feedback and valuable tip-offs since the start of the operation.
"About half the arrests were due to information given to us. Public cooperation has helped us greatly during the operation," he said, adding that those who tipped off the force chose to remain anonymous for their safety.
"Despite this, we pursued the information but vetted it carefully to prevent wrongful arrests," he said.
Among the common tip-offs received were about suspicious-looking people gathering at a house or at particular public locations.
SAC Jalil said 920 police personnel had been assigned under the ongoing operation to man roadblocks, conduct stop and frisk exercises as well as pursue wanted criminals.
He said the operation, conducted between midnight and 5am daily was aimed at reducing serious crime and preventing other crimes from occurring.
"Last week, we screened 50,246 people and checked 22,956 vehicles, mostly motorcycles. We will not stop the operation until we are satisfied with the results in reducing crime and making the streets safer," he added.
Ops Cantas Khas is being jointly conducted by Bukit Aman, state police contingents and police districts.
"We are using the Crime Prevention Act 1959 to arrest the suspects," he said.
In George Town, police rounded up 77 people, including six women aged between 20 and 40 and a teenager, in several raids over the weekend.
Penang Deputy CID Chief Asst Comm Nasir Salleh said that some of the men were wanted for various crimes.
Police personnel, including several geared in bulletproof vests, Kevlar helmets and Heckler & Koch MP5 submachine guns, stormed two nightspots where loud music was being played in the early hours yesterday.
In the first raid, police recovered two machetes measuring around 70cm long inside the toilet at a pub in Jalan Dr Lim Chwee Leong.
Six women and 27 men, three of whom were foreigners, were arrested in the pub.
"The three foreign men were working as waiters without permits," said ACP Nasir, adding that the weapons recovered might have been used in fights over the past six months.
In the next raid on a pub in Jalan Penang, police arrested 33 men and the teenager.
"We will take action against the pub owner for allowing a minor into the premises," said ACP Nasir.
ACP Nasir said police also raided 44 homes after being tipped off by the public.
"Sixteen suspects involved in various cases such as rioting, causing grievous hurt to others, robbery, burglary, extortion and cheating were nabbed," he said.