Growing fear of teen gang culture

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PETALING JAYA — The mass arrests of 249 boys and girls, including a 10-year-old, at Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) on Saturday night have sparked fears of a growing teen gang culture.

Malay Mail learnt the number of teen wannabe gangsters loitering at the KLCC area has risen in recent months.

Their intimidating behaviour at the KLCC park prompted complaints from business operators and the public.

Saturday night was worrying:

Knuckle dusters and seven knives seized.

Children aged 10 to 19 believed involved in gang fights, muggings, drugs and immoral activities.

Police found discarded Eramin 5 pills and syabu packets.

The youngsters, including 83 girls, were rounded up in a three-hour Op Banteras Rimau, launched ahead of the SEA Games, which starts today with netball and football competitions.

Dang Wangi police chief ACP Mohd Sukri Kaman said the arrests showed the re-emergence of skinheads, punk culture and growing popularity of drug-influenced ravers.

Most of those taken in were seen wearing low-slung jeans with sweaters and caps, and some had their hair dyed in striking colours such as blonde and green.

Others were dressed in punk-influenced style, with skin-tight jeans and leather boots and sporting crew cuts.

They were herded to Dang Wangi police headquarters in police trucks, where they were questioned, their backgrounds scrutinised, and taken for urine tests.

Two of them, aged 18 and 19, tested positive for substance abuse. The rest were released after their parents turned up at the station.

Most of the parents told police they were not aware of their children’s nocturnal activities.

Said a source: “Some of the children carried pocket knives which we believe were for protection when fights occurred among different gangs.”

The source said, if left unchecked, it could escalate into a full-blown teenage gang war.

“These kids are involved in serious crimes at such a young age. Initial investigations suggest they are into drugs, gang fights and immoral activities,” the source said.

“Shockingly, their parents are unaware of what they are involved in.”

Mohd Sukri said police acted after receiving reports about them disturbing and threatening the safety of the public and tourists.

“We want to maintain a peaceful city during KL2017. We hope good behaviour would prevail and everyone respects the public and tourists,” he told reporters.

He also urged parents to be aware of their children’s whereabouts.

The Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre in KLCC is one of the venues for KL2017 until Aug 30.