MALACCA, Feb 9 – The Malacca police busted two gangs involved in breaking and looting donation boxes from Buddhist and Islamic prayer houses around the Alor Gajah district here from November last year, to early this month.
Malacca police chief Datuk Abdul Jalil Hassan said the police detained nine members of the “Firdaus Botak” gang including a woman, aged between 18 and 32, who broke and looted donation boxes at temples around the Alor Gajah district, involving losses of between RM8,000 to RM10,000.
He said the suspects were arrested after a closed-circuit television (CCTV) that was installed at a temple in Rembia, Alor Gajah, near here, recorded a break-in incident at the temple at about 2pm on Jan 26.
“The police had set up a special task force to track down the gang, and based on the CCTV footage, the first wave of arrests involving five gang members was done three hours later (after the break-in incident at the temple in Rembia) in Batu Berendam,” he said during a press conference here, today.
He said the wave of arrests involved four gang members caught in the state within 24 hours of the incident, and preliminary investigations revealed the gang was led by a 23-year-old man known as “Firdaus Botak” and his 19-year-old wife is also part of the gang.
“The gang is believed to have been involved in 17 cases of breaking donation boxes at temples around Malacca … eight of them detained tested positive for Methaphetamine, and their motive (to steal) was to raise money for purchasing drugs,” he said.
Meanwhile, Abdul Jalil said the “Siti Jeram” gang, suspected of breaking a donation box at a mosque was crippled with the arrest of a 32-year-old woman known as Siti from Kampung Jeram Masjid Tanah at a house in the village at about 2 am on Feb 2.
He said the woman allegedly committed the crime with her 13-year-old son and the latter’s 20 year old friend, at a mosque in Kampung Rantau Panjang here involving a loss of RM20 to RM30 at 10.20pm on Feb 1.
“The gang was caught based on CCTV footages from the mosque, and when they were detained, all them were found to be high on drugs and tested positive for Methaphetamine. We also managed to arrest a 27-year-old man around Masjid Tanah a day after busting the Siti Jeram gang, and the suspect is believed to have a connection with the gang,”he said.
He said initial investigations revealed that the man was involved in five cases of mosque break-ins around the Alor Gajah district here, and the motive of the crime was also believed to be to raise cash for drug supplies. In the meantime, he urged the managements of mosque and temples in the state to install CCTVs as a security measure, and to help the police track down the suspects. — Bernama