KUALA LUMPUR, May 5 — Gangs running extortion rackets are increasingly targeting public projects and private companies in the Klang Valley, Mingguan Malaysia reported today, citing sources.
According to the weekend edition of Utusan Malaysia, the gangs extort up to several hundred thousand ringgit per month through such activities.
Such operations, which previously focused on housing developers, now extend to even road repair projects, private companies, auto workshops and entertainment premises.
The gangs, which allegedly comprise locals, demand payment from the head or manager of a project, including business owners, as a “fee” for protection services to ensure the project is not disrupted.
Mingguan Malaysia’s source, who works at a housing development project site, was quoted as saying that one particular gang would show up as soon as new projects have commenced work in a Kuala Lumpur and Selangor location.
“They would meet immediately meet the developer or project manager to offer protection services. Their duties are more for security purposes, including protecting every project, worker, gear and machinery,” the source reportedly said.
“The gang usually collects between RM1,000 and RM5,000 each month for small-scale projects. For medium and large projects, they will set a higher service charge, which could reach tens of thousands of ringgit,” the source was quoted as saying.
In the past few years, extortion gangs have started asking for protection money from public projects, especially repair operations for roads and tube wells, the source added.
Last year, authorities reportedly conducted 914 investigations on extortion cases involving housing developers, construction site managers, contractors and individuals.
Over the same period, the police reportedly arrested five alleged triad members and 40 alleged gangsters under the Prevention of Crime Act 1959 (Poca).