GEORGE TOWN: Penang police believed they have crippled a gang suspected to be involved in a spate of armed robberies and house break-ins with the arrest of five Indonesian men in two raids carried out in Kuala Lumpur and Penang earlier this morning.
State Criminal Investigation Department chief Datuk Zainol Samah said police had set up a special team and launched the operations dubbed “Ops Rantau Steady” after receiving reports of six house break-in cases involving foreigners over the past two weeks before managed to trace three men on board of an express bus at the Sungai Nibong Bus Terminal heading to Larkin, Johor, on Sunday night.
“Police chased the bus up to the Hentian Duta Terminal in Kuala Lumpur and arrested the three men at 2am yesterday and seized various items and cash, believed to be the loot from house break-in activities. They were believed to be on their way to return to Batam, Indonesia,” he said at a press conference here today.
He said with the information obtained from the three men, police raided the Bukit Gambir forest area here at 5.45am, where the gang had been hiding and detained two men, including the gang’s leader.
Following the arrest of five men, aged 26 to 56, police also seized 20 units of mobile phones and tablets, various designer clothes, jewellery, watches and cash of RM3,500, as well as machetes, sickles, swords and knuckle dusters.
Zainol said the gang’s modus operandi was to target luxury houses located on the edge of forests or hills in the state’s northeast and southwest areas and would break into houses in the early hours between 3am and 5am.
He said the investigations also found that the five men had previously worked in Penang as quarry and construction workers before returning to their home country and then to return here as they had the knowledge and expertise of the area.
He said some of those detained had entered the country legally while the rest used the “rat” trails in Johor and Selangor and they would return to their home country after obtaining lucrative loot from the house break-in activities before coming back here to commit more crimes.
He said the 56-year-old gang leader was one of the three suspects who escaped during police raid in connection with a house break-in incident in Taman Sungai Ara, Bayan Lepas in November 2017 and wanted by the police.
“Police believe with the arrest of the five men we have successfully solved 13 robbery and house break-in cases in Penang since earlier this year involving losses amounting to RM500,000. They are now being remanded for further investigation under Sections 395/397 and 394 of the Penal Code,” he said. — Bernama