Penang funeral suspects hit with charges linked to gang symbols, COVID rules

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The 13 people who were filmed participating in a funeral procession and suspected of being part of a gang have been charged with committing various offenses today, including violating Movement Control Order lockdown rules.

Five of them pleaded guilty to violating restrictions on public gatherings while six others didn’t. The remaining two, who were minors aged 15 and 16, did not have their plea recorded pending a mandatory probation report by the social welfare department. Several of them were also accused of having symbols believed to be associated with secret societies.

They arrived at two courts – sessions and magistrates – today, a week after attending the funeral procession for a 27-year-old who had died of tuberculosis on the afternoon of June 17 along Jalan Siram in Butterworth, Penang. The procession, accompanied by percussion, was captured in a widely circulated video before it was removed. Social gatherings in public are still not allowed during the ongoing lockdown.

The five who pleaded guilty were each sentenced to a fine of RM6,000 or two months’ jail. They were Munesvaran Singam, 24, Surendran Krishnan Samy, 35, Subramaniam Bathumalai, 23, Yeshwar Karuppiah, 22, and Logeswari Sugumaran, 23.

The six who did not plead guilty were each out on RM3,000 bail with one surety. They were Surendran Peeter Villiam, 21, Jagan Muthu, 24, Thiruselvaan Maganthran, 21, Amos Navaneethan, 19, Vihnoth Navaneethan, 31, and Guganeswaran Muthu, 21

The minors were out on RM1,000 bail.

If found guilty of committing the lockdown-related offense, each of them could be fined RM50,000 or jailed up to six months.

Regarding gang symbols, Thiruselvaan pleaded not guilty to possessing a spider tattoo, while Surendran, Guganeswaran, and Jagan denied they were guilty of possessing a banner printed with images of a swastika and Chinese coins. It is not clear which gangs those symbols were associated with. Both Thiruselvaan and Jagan were also ordered to report to police every month till the case concludes.

They had to pay additional bail for these offenses. Those convicted of possessing seals, banners or insignia of any triad society in Malaysia or other countries may be jailed up to five years or fined up to RM15,000.

Their case is expected to be mentioned in court again on Aug. 3. All of the accused were represented by a single lawyer obtained through legal aid.

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This article, Penang funeral suspects hit with charges linked to gang symbols, COVID rules, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.

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