Penang crime down 23% but no leads on church, police station attacks

Penang's crime index fell 23% for the first six weeks of 2014 against last year, but investigations into attacks on a Catholic church and a police station have not yielded any leads yet, police said today.

State police chief Datuk Abdul Rahim Hanapi said the crime index fell 231 cases between January 1 and February 14 this year against the same period last year, reflecting public cooperation, but he asked for more information to solve the high-profile attacks.

"We are still investigating. We ask members of the public who have information on the incidents to contact their nearest police station.

"When we have made arrests, we will let you (the media) know. Have faith in the police," he said today in Komtar after Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng launched the Penang Municipal Council's (MPPP) phase two closed circuit television (CCTV) system.

The police chief was referring to the molotov cocktail attack on the Assumption Church on January 27 and the mysterious ‘Allah is Great, Jesus is the son of Allah’ banners put up outside the Victory Lutheran
Church, St John Britto Catholic Church, Church of the Immaculate Conception, Assumption Church and the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary on January 26.

Abdul Rahim said the police are still investigating the firecracker bombing of the Bukit Tengah police station on the mainland that happened last Saturday.

The police is also continuing its investigations under the Peaceful Assembly Act into several public protests that were held without police permits in the last few weeks, he said.

On January 18 and 19, Malay groups launched protests in Seberang Jaya and Alma against Machang Bubuk assemblyman Lee Khai Loon over his 'I love kangkung' flash mob.

A controversial May 13, 1969 banner was seen at the Seberang Jaya protest and a scuffle broke out at the Alma event where two men were reportedly roughed up.

Lee himself is also being investigated for defamation over the flash mob which allegedly insulted Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak when the former fed kangkung (water spinach) to an effigy of the Barisan Nasional leader on January 15.

"All these cases are still under investigations. We cannot rush the probes," Abdul Rahim said.

Meanwhile on the phase two CCTV system, Lim said 75 CCTVs have been installed by the MPPP at a cost of RM5.8 million.

The contractor Datasonic Technologies, he said, contributed another five CCTVs, making it a total 80.

"Of the 80 CCTVs, 34 have pan, tilt and zoom functions controlled remotely. They can zoom up to 37 times to capture the number plates of vehicles clearly.

"The rest are for fixed view only. The CCTVs also have infrared for clearer visuals at night and horn speakers for the command centres to make emergency announcements," he said.

The CCTV command centres are located at the state police headquarters, northeast police district headquarters and MPPP traffic and CCTV control room.

So far, Penang island has 140 CCTVs running but Lim said the state is planning to install more.

"We plan to add another 32 through the MPPP and another 30 from the Housing and Local Government Ministry this year.

"The additional 62 will give the island a total of 202 CCTVs. We hope this will help the police combat crime too," he said. – February 15, 2014.

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