JOHOR BAHRU: The leader of the Gee Tiong Seng secret society is among 16 suspects arrested by police for involvement in the recent kidnapping of a businessman in Gelang Patah, Johor.
Johor police chief Mohd Khalil Kader Mohd said the suspects, comprising 13 men and three women, were detained at separate locations after the victim was released on Jan 31.
“All the suspects are Malaysian citizens, aged between 21 and 59.
“Five of the suspects arrested are members of the Gee Tiong Seng and Ah Hor secret societies with one of them being the Gee Tiong Seng leader,” he told reporters.
Khalil said the secret societies were believed to have been active since 2010 in the Taman Tun Aminah area, with gambling and extortion being their main activities.
Investigations further revealed that all five suspects had previous records related to crime and drugs, he said.
Khalil added police were tracking down the remaining suspects who are still free and looking into their previous extortion cases where firearms were used to identify the extent of their involvement.
“In addition, police recovered RM108,188 in cash and also seized two vehicles believed to have been be used by the group in the kidnapping,” he added.
When asked about the motive, Khalil said the abduction was probably to get money to pay off debts as the victim was a successful businessman with a lot of money.
All suspects will be remanded until Feb 11.
On Jan 27, a businessman who exports vegetables to Singapore was kidnapped by two masked men while jogging with a friend near the water tank area along Jalan Gelang Patah at about 7am.
One of the suspects also fired a gunshot, believed to be from a 9mm pistol.
The 57-year-old was released unharmed five days later (Jan 31) after the family paid a ransom of RM1,097,650.
Khalil added that police were still trying to track the rest of the ransom money.