2 nabbed for taking pictures of police buildings in Malaysia

Malaysian chief of police, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar has told the media that they had separately received phone threats from people claiming to be with ISIS.
Malaysian chief of police, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar has told the media that they had separately received phone threats from people claiming to be with ISIS. PHOTO: THE STAR/ ASIA NEWS NETWORK

Security stepped up outside police buildings nationwide following the two incidents

KUALA LUMPUR • Two men have been arrested by Malaysian police in separate incidents after they were caught snapping pictures in front of police buildings and trying to run away when approached.

The police are on extra alert after terrorist group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) threatened to attack the men in blue, prominent politicians, entertainment spots and even tourist attractions.

ISIS claimed its sympathisers attacked a nightspot in Selangor three weeks ago by hurling a grenade into the pub, injuring eight people.

Both the Malaysian chief of police, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar, and the country's top anti-terror official, deputy commissioner Ayob Khan, have told the media that they had separately received phone threats from people claiming to be with ISIS.

In the latest incident, a 27-year-old man was nabbed after he drove up in a car to the entrance of the Putrajaya police headquarters at 4pm on Wednesday, The Malay Mail newspaper reported yesterday.

He tried to flee when a policeman manning the guard post approached him, but the man, who was from eastern Pahang state, was soon arrested.

On Tuesday at Malaysia's main police headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, a man tried to drive away after he was caught snapping photos at the main gate at around 5.15am.

Police spotted a "bald, fair-skinned and heavily bearded" man in a silver Proton, gave chase and put him under arrest, the newspaper reported.

The car had false licence plates.

Police have yet to ascertain the motive for both incidents, the paper said, and they are investigating if the two men knew one another.

Police HQ Special Branch director Fuzi Harun said security has been stepped up outside police buildings nationwide following the incidents, with heavily armed men now guarding the entrances.

Malaysian police said this week that 186 Malaysians and 27 foreigners have been detained to facilitate investigations into terror groups including ISIS, a major reason why the terrorist organisation wants to strike back at the men in blue.

The authorities have said that scores of Malaysians have joined ISIS in Syria, including several who have died carrying out suicide bombings in Syria and Iraq.

Malaysian police said they have foiled nine plots by extremists targeting certain institutions and public areas in the country.

With ISIS losing territory in Iraq and Syria, security analysts have said that the terrorists are trying to expand into South-east Asia using locals in Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines organised under an ISIS affiliate called Katibah Nusantara.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 16, 2016, with the headline '2 nabbed for taking pictures of police buildings in Malaysia'. Print Edition | Subscribe