Video of motorist being robbed in Malaysia goes viral

MALAYSIA - A video showing a motorist being robbed by five men with parangs and no one going to his aid has gone viral on social media sites, adding to the nation's alarm over increasingly brazen crimes.

While the date and time of the robbery are not known, the 50-second clip has been circulating since as early as mid-July, according to The Star newspaper.

The attack took place on a busy road, speculated to be in the Klang Valley or Johor Baru.

The robbers, wearing black ski masks, shouted and waved their parangs at the hapless victim before taking cash and valuables, and escaping in three cars.

Motorists tried to help by shouting at the robbers or sounding their horn, but none dared to get out of their cars.

One version of the video has already been viewed more than 14,000 times since it was uploaded on Sunday.

The robbery added to public jitters over a spate of gun attacks that began on July 27.

"What happened to our beloved country?" Mr Imran Sharif wrote on Twitter on Sunday.

The police have blamed the current wave of violent crime on gangs whose gun stockpiles come from foreign drug smugglers with armed guards.

"Once business is finished, they just leave their guns behind," a police source told The Straits Times on Monday. The weapons are sold or given to local gangs.

Crime watchdogs say the repeal of the Emergency Ordinance, which saw 2,600 detainees released last year, and a lack of police manpower are allowing the gangs to act with impunity.

Police statistics showed there were 15,098 cases of violent crime, including murder and armed robbery, in the first half of this year, compared with 14,811 in the same period last year.

The police source said the release of the detainees has sparked turf wars, with gangs eyeing a slice of the lucrative drug trade.

"Personal vendetta could also be behind some of the recent attacks. It could get worse," the source warned.

Some gangs have taken to using Facebook to communicate with members, local reports said. According to The Star, prominent gangs such as 04 and 21 have closed Facebook groups, but some members with open profiles put up threatening status updates and photographs such as stacks of money or a parang.

Meanwhile, Malaysia's army chief denied that Saturday's shooting of a soldier at the border with Thailand was linked to the deadly shootings in recent weeks.

General Raja Mohamed Affandi Noor called it an isolated incident, and confirmed reports it had nothing to do with separatists in southern Thailand.

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