IGP: Not first time radioactive device went missing

Kenneth Tee

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun confirmed today the release of two men detained over the alleged theft of a 23kg Radioactive Dispersal Device (RDD) worth RM75,000. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 20 — Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun said today that the allegedly stolen 23kg Radioactive Dispersal Device (RDD) worth RM75,000 was not the first time such equipment went missing.

Mohamad Fuzi said police were still unable to determine the motive of the theft, amid claims the device went missing intentionally during its transport, and no one has stepped forward with the device yet.

“This was not the first time. Last year, there was also another case,” he said after launching an anti-Aedes campaign in Bukit Aman.

Last year, a similar device also went missing after it was stolen to be sold as scrap metal in Klang. Authorities later found the radioactive material in a scrap metal yard after it was detached and discarded.

Mohamad Fuzi also confirmed the release of two men detained over the alleged theft.

He said both men, who were the employees of the company responsible for the transportation of the radioactive device, were released after they were picked up on August 11, a day after they lodged a police report into the device’s disappearance.

“Both were remanded after their arrest and their statements have been taken before being released on the 17th,” he said.

Deputy home minister Datuk Azis Jamman was earlier quoted saying the public need not be alarmed as everything was under control.

The New Straits Times (NST) reported today that the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) and the police were looking into the disappearance of the RDD after it went missing during its journey from Seremban, Negri Sembilan to Shah Alam, Selangor.

The report said the two technicians were arrested over inconsistencies in their statements, but were released due to lack of evidence.

The RDD is a non-nuclear industrial radiography equipment, but which contains the radioactive isotope Iridium-192 that emits beta and gamma radiation.

The paper cited metallurgy expert Abd Nassir Ibrahim, managing director of Madani NDT Training Centre, as saying the equipment is used in various engineering projects, including the building and maintenance of power plants, chemical and petrochemical plants, and automobiles factories, but in the hands of terrorists, can be turned into a “dirty bomb”.

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