After four years, police’s anti-child sexual crimes unit officially launched

By Emmanuel Santa Maria Chin
Wan Ahmad Najmuddin speaks during launch of Malaysian Internet Crime Against Children Investigation Unit at Bukit Aman, Kuala Lumpur February 9, 2018. — Picture by Yusof Mat Is

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 9 — A special task force to combat the spreading of sexually explicit photos, videos, or audio recordings involving children via the internet was launched by federal police this evening.

It is understood the unit had begun operations sometime in 2014, and was only officially launched this afternoon to create awareness for the general public.  

Besides monitoring obscene online content, the Malaysian Internet Crime Against Children Investigations Unit (Micac) is also tasked with investigating and enforcing the law against sexual offenders.

Bukit Aman Criminal Investigations Unit (CID) director Commissioner Datuk Seri Wan Ahmad Najmuddin Mohd said besides taking down offenders, the unit would also be exchanging information with international and local counterparts on technology-facilitated child exploitation.

He said the unit, which operates under the supervision of the Sexual, Women, and Child Investigations Department (D11), is also aimed at educating parents and children about the potential dangers of online activity.

“Technology has transformed our daily lives and replaced analogue communications with apps and social networks.

“However, the misuse of the internet to prey on children is a serious problem requiring action by legislators, families, communities, and law enforcement,” he said after the launch in Bukit Aman this afternoon, together with digital smart partners Digi.  

Wan Ahmad Najmuddin said this resulted in an urgent need to establish a cyber-investigations unit overlooking all online medium of communications used by predators, to create and share sexually driven content targeting unsuspecting children.

He said information from their counterparts showed that since 2010, at least 88 pieces of evidence were received by the police which identified Malaysians who were involved in sharing or accessing child related porn.

“Children spend more logging on to the internet than carrying out outdoor activities, making them more vulnerable to online child sexual predators.  

“In 2015 there were 184 rape cases reported to police where the victims met the perpetrators online, then in 2016 there were 183, and last year 255 cases, and this increasing trend is our concern.

“There are many more examples of child sexual exploitation cases, hence setting up the Micac was in response to the increasing number of Malaysian children using the internet and other technologies,” he said.

Other objectives set by the unit consist of plans to conduct research on cyber threats involving children and to collaborate with local and international law enforcement agencies.

Micac will also be working with other digital smart partners in creating awareness campaigns highlighting the dangers that lurk in the cyberspace.    

“We cannot work in silos, cooperation and coordination with other international counterparts are crucial in fighting this fast growing borderless crime,” he said.