KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The events that escalated into a brawl at Kuala Lumpur's Low Yat Plaza on Sunday started from a clear cut case of theft, said Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar.
He said two men were arrested at 7.50pm on Saturday - one suspected of stealing a phone at a kiosk inside the mall and the other his accomplice.
He said the two were caught by staff of the phone shop, Oppo Malaysia, and handed to the security guards who later called the police.
Khalid said the suspected thief was detained in the lock-up while the accomplice was released at the discretion of the investigating officer who did not refer the matter to his superior.
"This suspect (accomplice) then made up stories to his friends and said that Oppo (staff) cheated them but, in truth, they stole the phone from another kiosk and not Oppo," Khalid told reporters at Low Yat Plaza in the Bukit Bintang shopping belt after visiting the mall on Monday.
"According to the accomplice, he has a receipt of the purchase but when we checked, it was not true.
"He also claimed that he filed a report with us but when we checked our system, there is none. He is a cheat. So please stop spreading false news," Khalid said.
Khalid said police had also called the Oppo staff to assist in the investigations.
Police have arrested 19 people, ages 19 to 26. All were remanded for four days starting Monday.
Khalid said police would monitoring social media postings that could spark racial disharmony.
On Saturday, a fight erupted between the thugs and sales assistants after a group of youths came to the shop on the ground floor at Low Yat Plaza.
This led to another group of about 100 people who started a brawl at the plaza at 6.30pm on Sunday.
The group had gathered to protest what they claimed was "biased investigations" by the police.
Khalid said police have already arrested 19 people between the ages of 19 and 26. They will be remanded for four days starting Monday.