Ah Long chiefs may have long tentacles

(The Star) – Six suspected Ah Long kingpins now being investigated by Bukit Aman police may also be involved in myriad other dubious activities, said Federal Criminal Investigations Department director Commis- sioner Datuk Seri Mohd Bakri Zinin.

He said police are checking if the six, said to be “big sharks” of the underworld, are also involved in gambling, prostitution and drug activities.

“We are investigating if these men have been sponsoring smaller local syndicates to expand their businesses,” he said, adding that police were also checking if they had properties in other countries.

He said the men aged between 30 and 56, including a Datuk, were also suspected of having links with illegal money-lending syndicates in neighbouring countries.

The men are believed to be heads of their own Ah Long networks.

Police are checking if the networks worked together as a syndicate or if they were under an even bigger “umbrella.”

“The networks of this syndicates are too extensive to effectively cripple their activities from the top ‘management’ down; we need time and (we) hope the public can be patient as we conduct our investigations,” he said.

Bakri said that if not much evidence could be gathered to bring the suspects to open court, police may decide to use preventive laws against them.

“Often, we can’t put these loan sharkes behind bars because witnesses refuse to testify, fearing for their lives.

“Even after giving my personal assurance that they (witnesses) would be provided with police protection, they still refused to testify in court,” he said.

It is learnt that five of the six men, including the Datuk, were arrested in raids in Johor and Selangor.

Police are also investigating if the suspects are part of the notorious K9 Crystal Gems Enterprise who had locked up, chained and beaten up debtors who failed to settle their loans.