A strong community spirit is not something criminals should be taken lightly but it seems like this community in Johor Bahru has gone a bit too far by taking justice into their own hands.
On Saturday morning (May 25), residents gathered around two Chinese nationals to egg and assault them. Viral photos and a video have been circulating on Facebook, stating that the duo is conwomen who use hypnotism or bomoh approach to swindle money and jewellery out of victims.
The three-minute video showed the members of the public threw fruit at the suspects who were sitting on the road. An uncle in red cloth used a wooden stick to smack them on the shoulders and caused one of them to wail in pain.
Later, a young man brought a two-dozen tray of eggs to the scene and a few onlookers started to throw the eggs at the suspects. At the 2:15 mark, a purple shirt woman emerged and started hurling the eggs at them rapidly. A voice behind the camera said the angry hurler’s mother is a victim of the suspects.
A piece of cardboard with Chinese words, which can be translated into “hypnosis gang” or “witch gang,” was placed in front of them.
Utusan Online reported that the incident happened at 9.51am in the morning market there on Jalan Jelatang, Taman Megah Ria.
Seri Alam deputy police chief Deputy Supt Shahrulanuar Mushaddat Abdullah Sani confirmed the incident and revealed that a third suspect managed to escape the scene.
DSP Shahrulanuar said a 63-year-old woman was scammed by the gang but did not file a police report then. She only told her friends and traders in the morning market about the incident.
“According to initial investigations, the suspects approached a 63-year-old victim at the market and told her that her family was in grave danger.
“They offered her a ‘medicine’ to take to avoid further misfortune.
“One of the suspects then held the victim from behind and she began to feel dizzy and did everything as instructed by the suspects,” Shahrulanuar was quoted by The Star as saying.
Under the instruction and influence of the suspects, the victim headed home to bring them money and jewellery for prayers as the suspects said it would help to cast away the bad luck.
“The suspects then put the valuables into a plastic bag and told her she could only open it in two weeks’ time in order for the ‘charm’ to work.
“When she looked into the plastic bag after two weeks, her valuables were not there, only two bottles of mineral water,” he said.
It is learned that suspects appeared in the morning market again that day and tried to flee after being pursued by traders and one of the victims who recognized them. The victim later confirmed that the duo was, in fact, the conwomen that cheated her money.
The police revealed that the duo did not possess any travel documents. They suffered minor injuries from a fall during their attempt to escape and some beating they received.
“The two suspects were sent to Sultan Ismail Hospital for treatment and we are still investigating the matter,” Shahrulanuar added.
The suspects were remanded for four days and that the case is being investigated under Section 420 of the Penal Code for cheating.
In a follow-up report yesterday (May 27), State police chief Comm Datuk Mohd Khalil Kader Mohd said the police will also investigate the people who assaulted the suspects.
“I would like to remind everyone that you cannot take matters into your own hands.
“First, you claimed to be a victim but you did not lodge a police report, then you beat up the suspects, so we have to investigate you as well under Section 147 of the Penal Code for rioting,” Comm Mohd Khalil said.
“This is something that we will not tolerate and you cannot be a vigilante here.”
He added that the police would also investigate to see if the scam really did happen as claimed by the victim.
It is learned that the victim only made a police report after Saturday’s incident.
FeedMe Malaysia previously reported a similar incident in Puchong where members of the public came together to pin down a suspect who used the same modus operandi to con about RM30,000 from a victim there.
The suspect was tied shamefully to a roadside rail with handy strings commonly used in pasar.
Such modus operandi, called gendam, was rampant in Southeast Asia for many years now. It even led the Malaysian government to create a public service announcement (PSA) video in regards to this issue two years ago. According to Straits Times, another Malaysian victim, aged 73, was cheated up to RM86,000 with the same trick back in November 2016.
You can watch the suspects being egged and assaulted by the public on the next page.