‘Govt should stamp out arms smuggling’

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KUALA LUMPUR: The government should eliminate “lorong tikus (rat lanes) which make it possible to smuggle weapons into the country, said Akhbar Satar, the Director, Institute of Crime and Criminology, HELP University. “The government should use drones and high definition security cameras.”

He called for placement of integrity officers and a high concrete and barbed wire wall along the border. “This can also prevent the smuggling of weapons into the country,” he said in a statement.

“Security and safety is non-negotiable.”

He was commenting on several shootings cases in the country in recent months.

The safety and security of a country is normally measured by the number of related crimes that take place in any year, continued Akhbar. “The crime rate also incorporates the number of murders that take place.”

Based on the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the average homicide in Malaysia was 500 to 600 cases per year whereas Pemandu statistics showed there were 498 homicides in 2015, slightly less than two persons being murdered daily. “In Thailand, the average homicide is seven persons per day,” said Akhbar.

“Going by our population ratio, we therefore roughly have the same rate as Thailand.”

Akhbar delved into the modus operandi employed by the underworld in contract killings.

Contract killers or hit men were hired by one party or organized criminals to eliminate a target. It involves an illegal contract agreement between two parties in which one party agrees to kill the target in exchange for some form of payment. In other words, they kill for profit.

Contract killing is associated with acts of jealousy, revenge, cover-ups, political motives or elimination of witnesses or business rivals. Such killings can be escalated by gang wars over control of drugs or the flesh trade.

It’s a known fact that even in Malaysia, with a gun-free environment, there are contract killers who ply their trade, charged Akhbar. “They provide their service for a fee.

The fees depend on the profile of the targets.

It’s believed that the average price for a hit is between RM5,000 to RM100,000.

Contract killers are hired through underworld channels. They can also be found in the underground internet Dark Web, by using a special search engine known as TOR (The Onion Router) to get access to hidden sites.

Citing studies, Akhbar identified three general types of contract killers, the amateur, the semi-professional and the professional.

In Malaysia, he said, most of the contract killers were semi-professionals. Targets are normally killed at traffic lights or in coffee shops. Most of their actions are captured by CCTV cameras. Physical evidence is something left behind at or near the crime scene that would point to them as responsible for the murder.

Akhbar listed the latest incidents in his statement.

The latest was a real estate agent being shot dead at close range by two unknown assailants on a motorcycle while the victim was in her luxury MPV in Taman OUG, Kuala Lumpur.

During the incident, he lamented, the victim’s eight-year-old daughter was also shot and who is in critical condition. The victim was with her five children and a maid when two men on a motorcycle approached the vehicle and opened fire.

Before the latest incident, a man survived six gunshots from an unidentified motorcyclist on June 29 at 3.5 km off the Kuala Lumpur — Seremban highway.

On June 21, two motorists were injured when they were shot at the traffic lights of the main road with Sunway/Batu Caves.

PKR Sarawak branch secretary Bill Kayong was also shot dead on the same day by an unidentified person at the traffic light junction in his hometown in Miri.

Prior to that on 15 April, two men were shot dead in Sabah after eight shots were fired into the vehicle they were in.