Online gambling ‘rampant’ since MCO began

Inspector-General of Police Abdul Hamid Bador says police will act against widespread online gambling and sale of illegal cigarettes.

KUALA LUMPUR: Police said online gambling and sale of illegal cigarettes have become rampant since Malaysia went into a partial shutdown under the movement control order.

The MCO, from March 19 to April 14, restricts public activities in order to curb the spread of Covid-19.

The Inspector-General of Police, Abdul Hamid Bador, said today police will double security at the nation’s borders to curb the spread of Covid-19 by illegal immigrants.

At a press conference at Bukit Aman today, Hamid said online gambling had become widespread with scammers taking advantage of the MCO to lure those at home into taking bets.

“We will be taking action as soon as possible. They are targeting Malaysians. The scammers are also eyeing those getting financial aid from the government to deposit the money into their accounts,” he said.

Hamid also said there had been a spike in cigarette smuggling especially along the nation’s borders.

“People can’t buy cigarettes in shops anymore. Those involved in illegal cigarettes are also using delivery services,” he said.

“It is widespread,” he said, adding that he had ordered his officers to carry out random checks on vehicles and delivery riders.

Come in for health checks, drug addicts told

Hamid urged drug addicts showing symptoms of Covid-19 to go for health checks “as life is more precious”.

He said the narcotics department was only taking action against “the big drug cases”, and drug addicts should not be afraid to come forward for screening.

“We do not want them to infect others,” he said.

Border security and MCO compliance

Hamid said police would double security at the nation’s borders to halt the spread of Covid-19 by illegal immigrants.

He said another 5,000 officers would be placed on duty at border checkpoints as the health ministry had warned of the danger of a third wave of infections.

He also said 99% of Malaysians were complying with the MCO. However, the remaining 1% could cause problems for others and he advised them to “think twice twice” as the penalty for violating the MCO was high.

Mind your children, parents told

He urged parents to monitor their children as 4% of the estimated 6,000 previous arrests were under 18 years old.

He said yesterday’s arrests went up by 51% – from 368 on Saturday to 554 – because people were still following their old habits of “going out on Sunday”.

Hamid said some were caught organising cockfights and some were caught playing badminton or golf.

He said two of his officers were also arrested for karaoke activities, adding that “we will not favour anyone”.

Those charged could be fined RM1,000 or face a two-year jail sentence.

“Some of them are daily wage-earners or low-income earners, and they are wasting the RM1,600 the government is giving them as part of the financial aid,” he said.