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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Underworld groups recruiting members online


MALACCA: A picture of a sword popped up on his Facebook page, flashing the message: “If you want protection, just click this icon.”
Intrigued, Amirul, a Form Four student from Alor Gajah here, clicked on it.
“A message came out, asking me to join a gang known as Tiga Line'. One of my Facebook friends wanted me to join the gang,” he said in recounting the incident.
Amirul, who declined to give his full name, said a photograph was attached with the posting showing a group of teenagers smiling for the camera, holding sharp objects and crash helmets in a somewhat intimidating manner.
“In the posting, the Facebook friend provided me with details on how to become a member. I would be privy to the activities organised by the gang, including illegal motorcycle races if I were to join them.”
Amirul said the gang claimed to be widespread throughout the country.
If he agreed to register online as a member, he would be “protected” by triad leaders in every state, Amirul said.
All that was required was a RM13 fee to be banked into an account that would be revealed to him if he signed up.
However, Amirul told his 51-year-old father about it.
In an interview, his father said he subsequently found out from his neighbours' children that the gang would converge for meetings at secluded places like oil palm estates.
“I was told that the gang would organise illegal races apart from gang fights with other triads,” he said.
Another Fourth Former, who wanted to be known only as “Aru”, claimed he had been approached to sign up as a member of a triad named “36 or Satu Hati”.
Aru said that pictures of famous Tamil film heroes would be posted on the Facebook wall and recipients were required to click on them to gain access into the gang's website.
This would be followed by a long questionnaire, he added. Besides seeking members' commitment “to defend the gang at any circumstance”, they are also asked about previous gang fight experiences and willingness to be trained as street fighters.
“Once all the questions are answered, you would become their Facebook pal. There is a life membership fee of RM36. Payment is made through online banking.”
“I just couldn't believe it when I received such messages on my Facebook account,” he said.
Aru claimed that there were also pictures of senior gang members offering booze to entice students to join the gang.
Apparently, most Facebook members of the gang were teenage schoolboys and a handful of girls as well, he added.
In another case, a Form Five girl from a prominent school here spoke of how she was offered the “privilege” to join a group that offered protection” late last year.
“Jiayi” she said she was then having problems with a 22-year-old guy after she called off their relationship in December.
“He was not happy with my decision and kept begging me to stay. I refused to see him but he was persistent. He even waited outside my house every night, shouting my name,” she said in an interview.
When his behaviour became unbearable, one of her classmates then suggested to Jiayi to get “special help”.
“It was then that I heard about a group name Hung Hing'. My friend told me that its master' was a guy from a local university who had a strong network,” she said.
Jiayi noted that the group would recruit members through Facebook.
“My classmate told me that the group master and his followers would offer me protection if I were to join the group. If I were to give them the name and photo of the person who disturbed me, they would teach him a lesson.”
Jiayi said that potential members merely need to make a request on their Facebook page and include the name of the person who invited or recommended them.
“In my case, I was told to use the name of my classmate's boyfriend, who was a group member,” she recalled.
Jiayi, however, stressed that she did not join the group.
Asked how she resolved the problem with her ex-boyfriend, Jiayi said she enlisted her parents' help to settle it.
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