KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's police chief Khalid Abu Bakar said on Wednesday (June 14) that the chief suspect in a major protection racket involving cops in Melaka is known to him and his family, but denied knowledge of the suspected gangster's illegal activities.
Gopinathan Krishnan, 50, is suspected of being the main conduit for bribes to Melaka policemen and for running vice activities including gambling and prostitution in the central Malaysian state.
Inspector General of Police Khalid, when asked by reporters about an online media report about the link, said: "Yes, he is known to me and he is also known to my family. But I'm not aware of his alleged illegal activities." He was speaking to the media after attending at event in Kuala Lumpur.
The Sarawak Report had alleged on Tuesday that Gopinathan of having direct telephone contact with Tan Sri Khalid, his son and brother-in-law.
Gopinathan, better known as Gopi, was one of 13 suspects arrested in an operation called Ops Gapi last month.
Mr Khalid added: "My number is readily available that I do not know some of those who contact me. But the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) is welcome to check my billing information to facilitate its probe. I have nothing to hide," he said.
Mr Khalid declined to elaborate the relationship he and his family have with Gopi.
The police chief said that despite being a "family friend", Gopi will have to answer to authorities if he is found to have been involved in illegal activities.
"It is not possible for me to know everything he does but I will not turn a blind eye on him. In this case, if this Gopi has done something illegal... my officers and I will fully cooperate with the MACC," he said.
Mr Khalid said that the Sarawak Report website, which is "assisted" by a deregistered local anti-crime watchdog MyWatch, harbours ill-intent towards him and the police, as this wasn't the first time such allegations have been hurled at him.
In a WhatsApp message to The Straits Times, Mr Khalid said: "This is almost a similar case to the one involving MyWatch chairman R Sri Sanjeevan. He was also known to me and used to call me. But after knowing his illegal activities, we took action against him. (That's why) he is sour with me now."
Sarawak Report, operated by journalist Clare Rewcastle Brown from London, on Tuesday had claimed that Gopi had direct access to Mr Khalid and two of his family members. The self-procalimed whistleblower site had quoted sources and claimed to have Gopi's billing information as evidence to support its report.
It showed several screenshots to claim that Gopi had phoned Mr Khalid, his 26-year-old son and brother-in-law several times.
The report claimed that Gopi played an important role in managing the police protection racket across gambling dens and prostitution houses in Melaka.
The Straits Times last month reported that several text messages from Gopi instructing the police chiefs to carry out occasional raids on his rivals had been sighted by the investigators. A source was quoted saying that new officers and personnel in the districts were also made to "report for duty" to Gopi.