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JOHOR BARU, March 2 — Police have advised the public to be cautious and not to be deceived by individuals suspected of using dubious ‘Datuk Seri’ or ‘Tan Sri’ titles in extortion in the state.
Johor police chief Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay said this was because these individuals with such suspicious titles who are using non-governmental organisations (NGOs) fundraising activities to hoodwink the authorities into donating cash and funeral hearses to camouflage their criminal activities.
“This individual tries to appear like ‘Robin Hood’. I believe many NGOs have dealt with this individual who made many promises. The police are also investigating if this case is related to any political party,” he said at a press conference at Johor contingent police headquarters here today.
He said the latest extortion case involved two men, a scrap metal businessman with a ‘Datuk Seri’ title, aged 56, and his friend, 41, who were suspected of threatening members of the public, including a police inspector in February, both of whom were brought to the Magistrates’ Court here yesterday.
Based on investigations, the businessman is believed to have obtain his ‘Datuk Seri’ title from ‘Sulu’ which is not recognised by the Malaysian Government, which embolden him to make threats and conduct criminal activities.
“Sulu will usually bestow the title of Datuk Seri if someone ‘pays’ for it. But it does not matter where the title comes from, Malaysia or anywhere, whether it’s Datuk Seri or Tan Sri, if they are involved in criminal activities, we will catch them.
“In addition, checks revealed that action had been taken against the individual twice previously under the Emergency Ordinance, having been detained in Simpang Renggam and Pulau Jerejak in the 1980s and 1990s,” he said.
He said both suspects were charged under Sections 506 and 34 of the Penal Code, and the businessman also faced an additional charge for threatening the police officer who arrested him.
In other developments, Ayob Khan said police managed to arrest 10 men believed to be members of ‘Geng 21’ in separate raids across the city, Kluang and Yong Peng between 2.30am and 3.30am on January 16.
All those arrested under Op Cantas were aged between 22 to 44 and possessed previous records relating to drug trafficking or abuse and violent crime.
“The arrests solve 14 violent crimes with eight suspects being charged under the Prevention of Crime Act 1959 (POCA), one suspect charged under Section 43 of the Societies Act 1966 for joining a gang while another was released,” he said.
According to him, Johor police under Op Cantas have taken action against 39 gang members under POCA since 2018. — Bernama