LOSSES due to commercial crimes rose drastically in Penang, registering a 225.4% rise, with losses of RM537 million recorded last year compared to RM165 million in 2020.
Penang police chief Datuk Mohd Shuhaily Mohd Zain said there were 3,209 cases of commercial crime compared to only 2,453 cases in 2020.
“Commercial crime rose drastically in 2021…it is a new frightening phenomenon during Covid-19 as more people interacted in the virtual world.
“It is a new challenge for us who are hard pressed for police expertise to investigate cyber cases and scams in the virtual world.
“The victims are from all layers of society, including senior citizens, professionals, semi-professionals, labourers, students, civil servants and those in the private sector, whether in urban or rural areas,” he told reporters during the Penang police contingent’s monthly gathering yesterday.
He said the Penang Commercial Crime Investigation Department will take more aggressive and comprehensive preventive measures by creating public awareness about the risk of scams using communication technology.
Meanwhile, Mohd Suhaily said the Penang Narcotics Crime Investigation Department seized various drugs worth RM113.92 million last year thanks to increased operations, intelligence and police presence on the field.
He said the total of the seized drugs increased by RM65.18 million last year compared to RM48.74 million in 2020.
“A total of 7,688 people were arrested last year for drug offences, with 1,976 detained under the supply category, 4,197 people under the possession category and 1,515 people under the urine category,” he said.
He added that police expect drug smuggling and trafficking activities to continue to rise as those in the illicit trade were aggressive and did not fear the law, apart from the demand from addicts.
“As such, the police will increase intelligence work to curb drug smuggling and trafficking activities so our strategy this year is to tackle the issue of drug abuse and see how it will impact property and violent crimes,” he said.