Malaysian police kill 5 gang suspects
MALAYSIAN police said they killed five suspected gang members in a shoot-out early yesterday and arrested 200 people in a crackdown on a spate of violent crime that has shocked the country.
National police chief Khalid Abu Bakar told reporters in Penang that 200 suspects have been rounded up nationwide.
"Since Saturday, we set up operations centres and targeted operations to probe suspects, secret societies' nests and suspected drug traffickers," he was quoted by Malaysiakini as saying.
The police said the five gang suspects were killed in an exchange of gunfire when the police moved in on their hideout in the northern state of Penang. The police seized three pistols at the scene.
The Star newspaper said the five who were killed were suspected to have been involved in recent cases of violence in the state.
A recent spate of shootings in the state and parts of the country has sparked speculation of a gangland war being waged.
Prime Minister Najib Razak called on the police last month to curb the "brazen" gun crimes that have sowed fear among normally laid-back Malaysians.
Malaysians have complained for years about a perceived surge in burglaries, robberies and purse-snatching. But concerns have spiked in the past month due to a series of killings.
The crackdown launched over the weekend in the capital of Kuala Lumpur will include increased roadblocks and patrols to corral "suspicious" people and will gradually be expanded nationwide, according to the police.
The police are employing a previously little-used law that would allow them to detain suspects for up to 72 hours for investigation without a court order.
AFP, THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK