Police detain 33 for planning to riot during Thaipusam


(Bernama) – Police detained 33 men suspected of planning to cause a riot during Thaipusam in Penang in a special operation on Sunday, January 25.

Penang deputy police chief, Datuk A. Thaiveegan, said they were aged between 17 and 28 years and were arrested at entertainment outlets around the city centre at about 2.55 am and were found to be in possesion of weapons like sticks and iron rods.

“Apart from Penang, some of them were from Kedah, Johor, Perak and Negeri Sembilan. Some are back on holiday while some are working here,” he told reporters at a press conference here today.

According to intelligence work carried out for over a month it was found that the group had only been formed recently, and police are investigating whether they are related to triad gangs in the country.

Some of the detainees have previous records of causing riots, including criminal intimidation, and are listed in the police’s wanted list. A small number were also detected to be under the influence of ketamine, said Thaiveegan.

In the meantime, he said 1,000 police personnel will be on 24-hours duty to maintain public safety in conjunction with the three-day Thaipusam celebrations which begin on February 2.

Police expect more than a million Hindu devotees, as well as local and foreign tourists thronging the celebrations area, among them Jalan Kebun Bunga, Jalan Air Terjun, Taman Botani and Jalan Gottlieb.