Don't fear 'push-pocket' criminals: KL police

KUALA LUMPUR • Malaysia's police chief has advised the public not to fall prey to "push-pocket" criminals who accuse victims of stealing their personal items as part of a blackmail scam.

Their targets are said to be mainly foreigners arriving at Kuala Lumpur International Airport or who happen to be at the Light Rail Transit stations, the Bernama news agency reported yesterday, citing warnings circulated on social media.

Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar Khalid advised the public not to be afraid if they encounter such a situation, the report said. "Should anyone come up to you and accuse you of theft, have no fear, just take them to the nearest police station," he was quoted as saying. "Do not try to settle the matter by yourself because they will not dare to go to the police station," he added.

The "push-pocket" perpetrators reportedly slip items such as mobile phones or wallets into the victims' pockets in crowded places around Kuala Lumpur.

They then accuse the unsuspecting victims of theft before asking them to pay a sum of money or be reported to the police. Victims usually agree to fork out the money out of fear, reported Bernama.

Kuala Lumpur Criminal Investigation Department chief Rusdi Mohd Isa was also quoted as saying that the police had yet to receive any reports of the scam.

"Checks with Dang Wangi and Brickfields stations found no cases have been reported to the police," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 11, 2016, with the headline 'Don't fear 'push-pocket' criminals: KL police'. Print Edition | Subscribe