Wednesday October 24, 2007
MYT 3:49:37 PM
Armed gangs in Sarawak at it again
By STEPHEN THEN
MIRI: Gangster groups specialising in armed robberies are becoming active once again in northern Sarawak.
These crooks have started their activities again after a lull of about four months.
Over the past 10 days, there have been two major armed robberies in the northern half of this state, one in Bakun last Monday and the latest in Miri on Wednesday.
Both of them involved armed gangs.
In Miri, police Wednesday arrested two armed robbers who were part of a six-member gang that broke into a residential house in the outskirts of the city and robbed a family of four in the wee hours of the morning of about RM15,000 worth of cash and jewellery.
Four other members of this robbery gang are still on the loose.
“We have launched a manhunt for the other four who are still at large. There is a possibility that foreigners may be involved,” said a police investigator.
The six masked robbers attacked the family of four at about midnight in a residential house some 20km outside of the city centre.
Armed with samurai swords, they tied up the frightened couple and their two little kids and ransacked the entire house before escaping.
The police mobile units managed to arrest two near the scene of the crime following an alert from the public.
Last Monday, a gang of six armed with shotguns and samurai swords struck in a plantation near the Bakun hydro-electric project and robbed a contractor of more than RM20,000 cash and belongings.
A police source on Wednesday said that some of the gangs that were busted during the Bukit Aman crackdown were not totally destroyed.
“They still have gang members here and there. It is just a matter of laying low and then regrouping when things are not too hot. Second-line leaders can easily take over a gang any time,” he stressed.
In May, police from Bukit Aman launched a statewide crackdown against gangsterism in Sarawak following widespread publicity given to the problems of gangsterism in the various divisions in this vast state.
During the crackdown, some 17 major gangs in Sarawak were identified and more than 1,200 of their leaders and members had been arrested.
Many of them had been charged while the others placed under restricted residence in other states or in detention centres under the Emergency Ordinance.