Just a month before Deepavali, the spectre of Ops Cantas has resurfaced with a fresh police crackdown on Indian criminal gangs who are allegedly on an intensified prowl before the festive day.
Deputy Home Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar (pic) said the peninsula-wide crackdown which was undertaken late last year needs to be re-energised due to a spike in extortion activities by the gangs in various towns and cities leading to Deepavali on October 22.
He added that the ministry has identified 23 gangs, including secret societies involved in illegal gambling and drugs, to be banned, in addition to 49 that are already in its black list.
“This is an extension of Ops Cantas,” he told reporters today.
“Several groups have heightened activities to collect ‘protection money’ leading up to Deepavali.
“The police have come to know about this and are tracing their movements,” he added.
“So we are working to weed out these gangs,” he said, stressing that the criminal activities are being done by predominantly Indian gangs.
He called on the public not to cave in to such extortion demands and immediately report cases to the police.
He said there is a tendency for gangs to increase activities to illegally collect money from communities when major festivals are approaching, and the police are keen to clamp down on this trend.
Ops Cantas was launched on August 23 last year. The ministry had announced that as the crackdown escalated, some 1.1 million people were screened and about 40,000 people were arrested in the process by the end of the year. Some 50% of those arrested were Malays, 30% were Indians and the rest from other races.
Wan Junaidi was speaking after attending the Penang state investiture ceremony at the Dewan Sri Penang in George Town. Also present was Penang Chief Police Officer Datuk Abdul Rahim Hanafi.
The ceremony, which was officiated by Yang diPertua Negeri Tun Abdul Rahman Abbas, was to honour police veterans who had served during the Emergency (from 1948 to 1960), the Communist Insurgency (from 1968 to 1989 in peninsular Malaysia and from 1962 to 1990 in Sabah and Sarawak).
A total of 185 veterans were awarded the Pingat Jasa Pahlawan Negara today, including nine who were honoured posthumously. – September 23, 2014.