KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysian police said they will take action not just on gambling syndicates, but also on property owners who rent out their premises for illegal purposes, in response to claims of illegal gambling resurfacing in business premises in Selangor.
"Prior to this, our focus was on the syndicates but now we will be taking action against all those connected to illegal gambling, including owners of premises who have abused their business licences," said Criminal Investigation Department (CID) director at Bukit Aman police headquarters, Commissioner Huzir Mohamed.
He said action can be taken under the Prevention of Crime Act (Poca) and Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act (Amlafta).
"We are seriously considering using these two Acts, as certain gambling syndicates have resumed operations.
"Bukit Aman CID has been going all out to combat illegal online gambling since early last year but the activity has returned nationwide, especially in Selangor," he said on Sunday (Aug 9).
"We will cooperate more closely with agencies such as (power utility) Tenaga Nasional and local councils.
"We will also identify and recommend to local councils to revoke the business licenses of those in cahoots with illegal gambling syndicates," Datuk Huzir said.
Agencies such as Tenaga Nasional would be tasked with cutting off electricity to the premises used by the syndicates to install their gambling machines, he added.
Last Saturday, videos claiming illegal gambling were taking place and contraband cigarettes being sold in Bandar Baru Sungai Buloh, Selangor, at the north-west edge of Kuala Lumpur, went viral on social media.
The eight-minute video garnered over two million views, and another 13-minute clip has over 4.5 million views. A complainant also alleged that his life could be in danger for revealing the illegal activities.
Meanwhile, the Sungai Buloh district police chief Superintendant Shafa'aton Abu Bakar denied allegations of inaction over illegal gambling activities in the district, in response to the viral videos.
She described the allegations made by the Facebook user as untrue and inaccurate.
"Two police reports have been lodged by the Sungai Buloh police station chief and an officer from the Shah Alam City Council.
"His allegations could tarnish the image of the police force, especially that of the Selangor police in our efforts to curb illegal gambling in the state especially in Sungai Buloh," she told a news conference on Sunday.
She added that the police are investigating the matter and will call up the man who made the allegations.