Monday, August 2, 2010

Crooks In Uniform Too

Sunday August 1, 2010 - Rogue Cop And Accomplices Held

PETALING JAYA: A police constable believed to have been involved in a series of robberies since three years ago has been arrested.

The 27-year-old was arrested along with two of his accomplices at his home in Gombak on Friday, said Selangor police chief Deputy Comm Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar.

“All the suspects are in their 20’s and have been involved in at least five gang robbery cases, with the last being two weeks ago somewhere in Gombak,” he said.

It is learnt that the constable, who had been attached to the Petaling Jaya district headquarters since two years ago, also had a disciplinary record, which included poor work attendance.
Sources also revealed that the suspect was armed when arrested.
A urine test result showed the suspect was positive for drugs.

The suspect has been remanded and the case investigated under Section 395 and 397 of the Penal Code.

******

Sunday July 18, 2010 - Feeding On Fear Of Cops

Whenever we encounter the police, we freeze and think that we have done something wrong.

Crooks who impersonate our law enforcers play on this fear.

Paul Jambunathan remembers talking on his mobile phone while crossing the road one day.
He saw a police car passing by and automatically put his phone down.
He was not committing any crime; he just thought he was.

Jambunathan, a clinical psychologist, attributes this reflex action to a case of classical conditioning.

“Most people associate the police with punishing us for doing something wrong (although we haven’t),” he says.

Billy Lim* has a similar story.
He admits to always talking on the phone while driving.

A few times, he has caught sight of someone in a fluorescent jacket similar to those used by the police, and he ended up panicking.

“Very often it turns out to be someone from the local council or even a road construction worker,” he says.

But the sight of the vest is enough to give him the chills.

Unfortunately, criminals who impersonate the police or other enforcement agencies work on this fear, says Jambunathan.

Over the years, there have been cases of people impersonating police officers, which is a crime under the Police Act.

Impostors have used the police uniform to commit robberies, extortion and even rape.

“Even when I see the words POLIS, I become nervous for no reason. It could even be someone wearing a plain T-shirt with the word POLIS on the back,” says Lim.

MCA Public Services and Complaints Department head Datuk Michael Chong agrees that the public may not be able to tell the difference between a genuine police officer and a bogus one.

“If they stop, they might get robbed but if they don’t, they might get shot,” he observes.

He says that it is easy to impersonate an enforcement agency with numerous shops selling uniforms and paraphernalia of all these enforcement agencies, including the police.

“The only thing I can’t buy is a gun. Even then, I can get a toy gun. If I stand by the roadside wearing the uniform, some people would not be able to tell the difference,” says Chong.

He adds that anyone can buy Rela (Volunteers of Malaysian People) outfits complete with their rank.
Rela officers are often called up for crime-prevention duties and they have the power to make a citizen’s arrest and hand the perpetrator over to the authorities.
They can also check identity cards and passports, and nab illegal immigrants.

The easy availability of Rela uniforms in shops and online has made it easy for crooks to impersonate its volunteers to commit crimes.

In 2006, robbers masquerading as Rela members drove off with RM47million worth of microchips from the air cargo complex in Penang.

Major Jen Datuk Abdul Aziz Ibrahim, the assistant chief of staff, Personal Services of the Royal Malaysian Armed Force (RMAF), says there have been many cases of people misusing the army uniform.

One of the main reasons is to get the attention of girls, says Abdul Aziz.

“It is impossible to stop the shops from selling the uniforms as they have valid business licences.”

Mary Chan* recalls a uniform theme party that was organised by her company.

She says that most people were dressed in army fatigues. She herself wore a police uniform she had ordered on the Internet.

“My uniform was quite plain and anyone could tell it was fake. But the army uniform of the others looked real,” she says.

Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation (MCPF) vice-chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye agrees that impersonation of police and other government security personnel is an issue of concern.

The MCPF has received some complaints of impersonations of police personnel, he acknowledges.
He says the Government should take note of the problem and check outlets that sell these uniforms and paraphernalia freely.

“This problem has existed for quite a while. The sale of these items should be tightened to prevent abuse,” he warns.

Lee says the police should educate the public on what to do when confronted by impostors.


The police have always reminded people to ask for authority cards when they are sceptical about the status of the uniformed man.
But not many people do that, unfortunately.

Emily Abdullah says she would not be able to tell the difference between an impersonator and a real police officer.
She has been stopped at police road blocks but has never asked to see their identification.

“Not that it never occurs to me but I just want to get everything over with as quickly as possible,” she says.

Jambunathan says it is the public’s right to ask for identification and they have to let go of the misconception that the police would be antagonistic if they do so.

******

Training is needed for one to become a police officer.
However, for a few hundred ringgit, it is possible for one to look like a cop.

As was reported by The Star July 18, 2010, police accessories are sold openly and police uniforms are available in some stores in and around the city. Discount can be obtained too for a few items purchased at Pertama Complex in Kuala Lumpur.



A pair of police shoulder badges can  be bought for RM37 at a uniforms wholesaler shop

Which one is real?
A police badge purchased at Pertama Complex. The fake badge is at the bottom. It is hard for the layman to tell the difference between the two badges.

 Similar badges: There is little difference between the police shoulder tag purchased at Pertama Complex (bottom) and one found on a policeman’s uniform.

The reporter purchased two police badges and a sticker for RM35 with the word POLIS in bold letters (to be stuck on the back of a jacket or vest).

When asked for a receipt, he was told to write his name and police identification number by the shopkeeper but when told that he was not a policeman, the shopkeeper looked worried and said he was not permitted to sell the items to civilians.
The reporter managed to convince the shopkeeper all the items were for personal use only.

The shop also stocked badges of other enforcement agencies such as the Prisons Department.

Road Transport Department (RTD) emblem, twin army medals and a pair of police shoulder badges can  be bought for RM37 at a uniforms wholesaler shop.

Although the shop assistants were surprised as only one of each item were bought, they did not ask any further questions after explaining the items for personal use only.

People usually bought the badges in bulk.

One can have a police integrity badge for RM11.90, handcuffs for RM28 and RM58 for the more expensive cuffs which were of higher quality and had double locks.

Unlike army and Rela uniforms, police uniforms, however, were more difficult to get compared to which are easily purchased from any uniform shop.

When asked about getting the police uniform at one shop, a letter of authority from Bukit Aman is needed for the purchase.

***All Sources: The Star

5 comments:

Mr. Stupid said...

That's a fear everyone holds. Cops walking casually on the street can strike fear in people's hearts.
Those were some pretty basic but important instructions. Acting up and inquiring these fake cops is enough to make them leave.

remgold said...

kalau sikit anggota polis yg terlibat kita kata coincidence lah maam. tapi ni ramai sangat!
kalau nak komplen gaji kecik, tak ada orang yg paksa mereka jadi polis.
gilah kerja jadi restoran cook atau jual goreng pisang, lagi gaji tinggi.
tapi mereka malas dan manja dan syiok jadi perompak sebab pistol govt kasi.
tsk tsk, world, world (omputeh untuk 'dunia, dunia).

Ummie said...

As a matter of fact, I share this article with pain piercing my heart & shame on my face.
How many more millions can easily be robbed?
How many more people can easily be trapped?
Can the public think on their feet, at the spur of the moment?
Not me, for one (through experience).

文王廷 said...

男女互悅,未必廝守終生,相愛就是美的。.................................................................

Anonymous said...

A little like God in some religion, no? :)...the police, i mean