Malaysian police forces announced they have strengthened their efforts to hunt down the syndicate behind the Hari Raya-themed ads that market online gambling. Last Friday, the Malaysian authorities detained 13 persons, including three women, on allegations of taking part in the now-viral gambling ads. Among the arrested were the producer, the actors and their agents, the videographer, and the directors.
The police are yet to catch the syndicate that hired the production house behind the ads’ creation. The detained reportedly admitted they had received payment for participating in the viral ads. The latter were filmed at two separate locations this past March in the Malaysian state of Selangor.
Local authorities will investigate the apprehended individuals under the country’s Penal Code, the 1953 Common Gaming House Act, and the 1998 Communications and Multimedia Act. The local police insisted the public should refrain from speculating on the ads’ origin because the investigation is still underway.
In an official statement, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) unveiled it has adopted a fast-track approach. The Commission has authorized the local police forces to demand that all ISPs block access to remote gaming platforms. The authorities have also contacted social networks and video-sharing platforms like YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook with the demand to remove the offensive ads.
MCMC Advises against Sharing the Ads on Social Media
The country’s communications and multimedia regulator MCMC has warned the general public not to share the ads on social media. The MCMC called for responsibility and reminded the locals to report such video content to the Malaysian authorities. Datuk Dev Kumar from the Bukit Aman Criminal Investigation Department confirmed the same production house was responsible for creating both ads.
Deputy director Dev Kumar assured during a press conference the police forces will spare no efforts in tracking down the syndicate or individual behind the ads’ creation. Representatives of the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia, the MCMC, and the Malaysian National Film Development Corporation (FINAS) were also present at the press conference.
According to deputy director Kumar, the authorities have so far detained 13 persons in relation to the investigation. Nine of the arrested were apprehended after the release of the first video. The other individuals were detained after the second video went online. Some of them were arrested in the Ampang district and will remain in custody for two days to help authorities with the investigation.
Chief Mohamad Zainal Abdullah from Kuala Lumpur’s Dang Wangi district police department confirmed the actors who took part in the second video were paid RM200 each, while those who participated in the first video received commissions of RM180.
Dr. Fadhlullah Suhaimi, who chairs the MCMC, warned the authorities will take legal actions against all transgressors who continue to post the two offensive videos on social networks like Facebook. Dr. Suhaimi urged citizens to refrain from disseminating the ads on the internet due to their objectionable content. At the moment of writing, only 13% of the 61 videos circulating the internet have been taken down.