Perak's District Rela chief admits to selling 26 stolen firearms

EMBUN MAJID

ALOR STAR: The main suspect in the theft of 26 shotguns issued to the People’s Volunteer Corps (Rela) turned out to be one of its district chiefs in Perak.

Kedah police chief Datuk Asri Yusoff said the 55-year-old suspect had admitted to selling the firearms, meant for Rela members, to members of the Territorial Army (Askar Wataniah) members as well as several civilians between RM1,000 and RM3,000 each.

He said the suspect had previously served in the Selama district before being transferred to the Pengkalan Hulu district Rela office in 2015.

Asri said to date, police have recovered 13 shotguns, a homemade air rifle and more than 300 rounds of 12 Bore bullets following the arrest of 14 men.

“Eleven of them are Rela members in the Selama district, two are civilians and one is a Territorial Army staff based in Sungai Buluh, Selangor,” he told a press conference here today.

Asri said the main suspect is being investigated under Section 7(2) of the Firearms Act (Increased Penalty) 1971, which carries a death penalty or life imprisonment.

"The buyers are being investigated under Section 8 of the same Act which carries up to seven years’ jail sentence or a fine up to RM10,000 or both upon conviction," he said.

He added that police are tracking down the buyers of the remaining 12 firearms, all believed to be from Perak.

The firearms theft was discovered last month when the Bukit Aman Firearms Licensing Enforcement unit from Bukit Aman carried out an audit at the Rela Northern Region Training Centre in Bukit Selambau, Sungai Petani.

The team discovered that 26 of the shotguns issued to the Selama district Rela unit were unaccounted for.