KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - A melee erupted between thugs and sales clerks in a smartphone shop at Low Yat Plaza after a group of youths returned to take revenge against the retailers who caught them shoplifting earlier on Saturday.
The scuffle was caught on a video that went viral on social media.
The commotion also brought the popular tech shopping mall to a standstill.
The thugs entered the shop at 7.50pm and began smashing the glass display, flipping over cabinets and smashing phones and other electronic products worth some RM70,000 (S$25,000).
The sales clerks in the store tried to stop them, and it resulted in an all-out brawl on the ground floor of the shopping mall.
Security guards and a police officer were seen standing a few metres away while the fight went on. The thugs shouted at them when they tried to subdue them.
Kuala Lumpur Criminal Investigation Department chief, Senior Asst Comm Zainuddin Ahmad, said the police arrested a 22-year-old man who was believed to be one of the thugs.
Police are also hunting the remaining six men who smashed up the electronics.
The commotion began earlier in the day when the mall's security guard caught one of the thugs shoplifting in the smartphone store and turned him over to the police.
"His friend was not happy and called other people to go to the shop to damage products," he told reporters.
Datuk Zainuddin said the security manager of Low Yat Plaza had lodged a report with the police.
The case, he said, was being investigated for rioting and mischief amounting to damage of property.
He stressed that the melee did not stem from a racial issue but was started by the shoplifting incident.
"It has nothing to do with racial sentiments. It's between the customer and the shop assistants," he said, adding that people should not spread rumours.
Meanwhile, Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) Youth has advised people not to spread videos of the melee, as it could cause racial tensions.
Its chief Chong Sin Woon said videos of the incident from several perspectives had been published over social media.
He said people should not pass judgment and comments over the incident.
"One side is blaming the other and urging people to boycott the shop," Mr Chong said after opening the Perak MCA Youth annual general meeting here on Sunday.
"The videos could spread hatred and create racial tension among the people," he added.
He also called on the police to act swiftly.
Mr Chong said such incidents could spread fast on social media.
"We must be aware of a current trend where people behind the scene are creating tension among the people," he added.