Sabtu, 14 Disember 2013

The Star Online: Nation

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The Star Online: Nation

47 nabbed in ops to clean up African scams


KUALA LUMPUR: Police have nabbed 47 people, including 11 women, in its latest operation to clean up "African scams" in the country.

The operation, which started around midnight yesterday, saw around 242 police personnel and about 40 immigration officers hit the streets in search of members of the African scam syndicates.

Bukit Aman Commercial Crime Investigations Department (CCID) deputy director SAC Datuk Mohd Rodwan Mohd Yusof said police picked up the suspects in raids code-named Ops Tiong at various locations in and around Taman Sri Kuching, Kepong here.

"Thirty-seven of those arrested were Nigerians while some were from Ghana and other parts of Africa. Three locals were also among those detained," he said.

Police also seized 11 laptops, 10 mobile phones and RM500 cash.

SAC Mohd Rodwan said 22 out of the 47 arrested were handed over to the Immigration Department as they lacked the proper travel documents.

"Most of these African syndicate members enter the country using student visas. These scams are various con jobs perpetrated by syndicates from Africa, including parcel and inheritance scams, black money and black magic.

"Scams involving Africans are getting serious in the country with more people falling prey to them," he said.

He added that the number of arrests related to such scams had been on the rise this year with 476 arrests compared with 413 last year.

'Taoist god' goes on a walkabout'


GEORGE TOWN: A group of youth is making heads turn as they walk around Penang island wearing a human-sized costume of a Taoist god.

The 22 youth, aged between 14 and 22, will be taking four days to complete the 84km journey, which began from the Chio Tian Culture and Arts Troupe Penang centre in Permatang Damar Laut, near here, at 8am yesterday.

Twenty-one of them are members of the troupe, which organised the journey, while the remaining participant is a volunteer. Several other non-members will join them along the journey for a day or two only.

The costume of Tu Di Gong (God of Fortunes and Virtues), which they take turns to wear, is a sight to behold, with its long white eye brows, moustache and beard. It weighs about 15kg.

Thong Kaw Wenn, 15, said it looked easy when she watched her teammates walking in the costume but found it tough when she had to do it herself.

She could only walk for 10 minutes before passing it on to another participant.

"At the end of the journey, the sense of achievement will overshadow everything else."

Kelvin Lim, 16, said the journey was an activity which boosted the troupe members' teamwork. "This is an invaluable experience since the chance to walk around the island as a team does not come by often," he added.

Non-member Ong Cze Chee, 15, said she wanted to to experience what life had to offer.

"Although the task seems daunting, the sense of accomplishment I obtained from the journey makes me proud," she said.

Troupe leader William Voon, 26, said he hoped that the journey would expose the participants to the difficulties of living outside without the care of parents.

"We will be walking for more than 10 hours every day and will stay overnight at a temple, a primary school and a hall," he said.

The group completed the 24km first leg of their journey earlier than expected in Balik Pulau at 4.30pm yesterday.

Today, they will walk 21km from Balik Pulau to Batu Ferringhi from where they will trek another 18km to George Town via Tanjong Tokong tomorrow. The last day on Sunday will see them walking 21km from George Town back to Permatang Damar Laut via the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway.

The public can expect to see them play seven drums carried by a lorry accompanying them at pit stops.

This is the second consecutive year the troupe had made a round-island journey on foot. The costume, made in Taiwan, costs RM6,500.

Cops to give Jakim a hand to stem spread of Syiah activities


KUALA LUMPUR: The police will work with the Department of Islamic Development (Jakim) on implementing a proposal for a team of policemen on Syariah matters as well as monitor Syiah activities.

"We still have a few details to iron out with Jakim before we can implement this (the team)," Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar told reporters after signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Lions Club International at Bukit Aman here yesterday.

Under Syariah laws, Khalid said police had certain enforcement powers but that there were still issues to be discussed, adding that he hoped to put the initiative into place as soon as possible.

Earlier, after launching the United Against Crime Through Eyes in the Sky programme in Shah Alam, he said the force wanted to work closely with Jakim on monitoring Syiah activities.

"We want to ensure that this problem does not become worse and that these groups do not grow bigger or turn militant," he said.

The Home Ministry, added Khalid, had revealed links between PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu and Syiah, which is considered deviant in Malaysia, in order to remind people of the dangers of letting the teachings spread.

"Look at what happened in Syria, Iraq and Pakistan. When these groups grow bigger, they will turn militant. Then, there will be clashes between Syiah and Sunni groups. Do we want this to happen here?" he said.

Police, he said, knew that many people had started to follow Syiah teachings in the country, adding that some of those arrested by its counter-terrorism unit were involved.

On Thursday night, Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had said that the ministry was studying a proposal to set up a special police squad to stem the spread of Syiah and other deviant teachings.

If implemented, such a proposal would enable the police to place its officers at Jakim as part of the religious enforcement team.

He had said that he would discuss the matter with the Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom and seek the consent of the Conference of Rulers in order not be misconstrued as interfering in religious issues. In JOHOR BARU, police chief Senior Deputy Comm Datuk Mohd Mokhtar Mohd Shariff said it had been keeping close tabs on Syiah groups and "would be making arrests at the right time".


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