GEORGE TOWN - Police in Penang have shot dead five men who are believed to be members of the notorious 04 gang.
The shootout occurred at 5am on Monday, at a service apartment in Sungai Nibong.
The five, believed to be in their 20s, were said to have been involved in the recent spate of shooting cases in the state this year.
It is learnt that police had been monitoring their activities before moving in on a unit on the 11th floor of the apartment early Monday. Police are now conducting checks at the scene.
A recent spate of shootings in the state and various parts of the country have sparked speculation of a gangland war. On Aug 8, K. Veerappan, a 37-year-old scrap dealer believed to be associated with Gang 36, was shot dead when he stopped the car he was driving near a traffic light in Anson Road.
A motorcyclist rode up and the pillion rider whipped out a pistol and fired 14 shots, 10 of which hit Mr Veerappan's neck, cheek and abdomen.
Earlier the same day, a gunman fired at least six shots at a businessman's bungalow in Jalan Utama. No one was injured in the incident, believed to be a triad's warning to the businessman.
On Aug 9, a third shooting occurred in the state, in Jalan Datuk Keramat, where a 43-year-old bouncer was hit in the left thigh. A gunman fired seven shots but only one hit the victim, believed to be one of the top leaders of the Si Lian (Four Tyres), also known as the 04 Gang.