Kuala Lumpur: Malaysian police on Monday said they killed five suspected criminal gang members, including three ethnic Indians, and arrested 200 others during a crackdown following a spate of violent crimes.
The three Indian men gunned down by police at George Town in northern Penang state this morning had criminal records. A statement from police said J Gobinath, 31, had previously been charged with causing hurt using a weapon.
National police chief Khalid Abu Bakar told reporters that 200 suspects were rounded up across the country.
Gobinath and two others were gunned down in an apartment in Sungai Nibong at around 5 am during a shootout with police.
N Rakan, 25, another ethnic Indian killed in the shootout, was wanted by police for causing injury. M Suresh, 25, was wanted for rioting.
The dead men were said to have been involved in a recent spate of shooting cases in Penang state this year. They were believed to be members of Geng 04, a notorious criminal gang.
Shootings and spiralling crime in Malaysia had shocked the people. Police launched the nationwide anti-crime crackdown on Saturday following public outcry over lawlessness.
The ruling coalition blames the violence on a turf war between criminals released when a tough security law that allowed preventive detentions was scrapped in 2011. The government`s critics blame the national police force, widely seen as corrupt and unprofessional.