On the Beat | By Wong Chun Wai

Our criminals seem to be growing bolder

Her watch, money, wallet and other personal items were left intact by the murderer but her mobile telephone was missing.

What is disturbing is that the crime took place at around 10.30am, when she had just opened her shop for business.

According to the shopping complex, its security system had over 250 cameras operating 24 hours but that did not stop someone from committing that gruesome crime and then walking away.

In fact, an initial review of the tapes from the closed-circuit TV cameras did not produce any positive leads.

In an earlier incident, student Li Mingqian was found naked and dead in a ditch in Banting, Selangor.

The 17-year-old student, who had just been in Malaysia for a month to pursue a higher diploma in business, is believed to have been raped and sodomised.

There are two angles that police are pursuing – someone had picked up Li or she had taken a taxi ride.

But it appears to be a crime of opportunity by an attacker or attackers who had probably taken advantage of her after seeing she was alone or lost in the area.

There are enough laws in Malaysia to punish such sick sex predators and many such criminals have been punished but they don't seem frightening enough for some.

Just three days ago, the Sessions Court in Miri sentenced a fisherman to a total of 94 years and ordered him to be whipped 14 times for committing incest with his only daughter, aged 14, on five different occasions. The 39-year-old man will have to spend at least 56 years in jail.

We certainly agree with Judge Azahahari Kamal Ramli who, when passing sentence, said the man deserved no mercy for the heinous crime.

Our criminals seem to be getting bolder, judging from the murders in Mutiara Damansara and Banting. Obviously aware that our police force is short-handed, many seem prepared to commit crimes openly, which is an obvious challenge to our law enforcers.

Last Thursday morning, three men boldly set fire to a pewter shop in Klang in the presence of customers at a nearby pub.

The arsonists warned the pub patrons to "mind your own business or be beaten up" as they broke the padlocked shutters of the shop.

They did not even care if their identities were revealed and when a woman saw them, she was even warned not to report to the police.

I am upset by these criminal acts because a colleague and a friend have fallen prey to these dangerous people.

Just before the Chinese New Year, a colleague was robbed by three armed men in the basement car park of our office building.

He was slashed on the hand by the gang which had followed him in a car from a bank in Section 14 to the office in Section 16.

In the other case, the friend was abducted at an open car park near a shopping complex in Petaling Jaya by a gang of four men, one armed with a long knife.

In the 1pm incident on Thursday, they pushed the terrified housewife into their car and  took her to a bank where she was forced to withdraw money from an ATM machine. Her three-hour ordeal ended when they took her back to the car park, pushed her out and then drove her car away.

We are just thankful that she was not harmed by the robbers. I told her that I was not confident that the car would be found and it would have probably ended up in Thailand by now.

But what irked me is that all these incidents took place in broad daylight. The country has only 80,000 policemen and has asked for more men and facilities.

They need all the support we can give them to carry out their work to prevent crime, especially with an increasing population which includes a huge number of foreigners.