JOHOR BARU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Johor police are looking for a secret society leader believed to be the mastermind behind the murder of a car repossessor.
Johor's police chief, Commissioner Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay, said that so far 12 Ngo Seik Kee (Five Colours) members, aged between 17 and 31, have been arrested and were charged with murder on Wednesday (Dec 30).
"Investigations so far revealed that the victim is also part of a different secret society group originating from Selangor.
"The victim came down here (Johor) to repossess the car, which the Ngo Seik Kee members were also eyeing," Datuk Ayob told a news conference at the Johor police headquarters on Thursday (Dec 31).
He said the Ngo Seik Kee leader, identified as Tan Kim Boon, 36, is from Batu Pahat, where the group has been active in Johor since the 1980s.
He added that many secret society members work as car repossessors.
The gangs profit by taking possession of cars when their owners default on loan repayment instalments. But instead of returning the vehicles to the financial institutions that own them, the vehicles are sold to third parties at lower prices.
The buyers of these vehicles must pay the monthly instalments to secret societies, "and would be given a sticker to paste on their vehicle saying that the car should not leave the state", Mr Ayob said.
"We believe that the victim entered Ngo Seik Kee territory to take the car and this angered them," he said.
Mr Ayob warned that the police would take action against secret societies in the state soon as they are also actively involved in drug activities.
He said police had so far identified eight active secret society groups in the state, with 483 members throughout Johor.
The body of a 34-year-old man with stab wounds was recently found in a ditch on the North-South Expressway near Sedenak in Johor.
The car "repo" man, was said to have died from several stab wounds and injuries to his head and body on Dec 20.
The victim and a friend had earlier repossessed a Toyota Vellfire in Johor and were making their way back to Kuala Lumpur in the same vehicle when they were intercepted by two other vehicles.
The victim's body was left at the scene, while his friend managed to flee.