Malaysia: Gangs 'hunt rivals via Facebook'

Parang knives laid out to depict the gang symbol "04"

Malaysian gangs have taken to Facebook to post threats and "wanted" notices against rivals, it appears.

Members of criminal groups - many represented by numbers such as 04, 21 and 36 - have blatantly open profiles, where they post threatening status updates and photographs, reports English-language daily the Star. It points to some uploading photos of stacks of cash and knives, adding that many group pages have more than 2,000 members. One regularly posts mugshots of rivals it wants killed, the Star says, quoting one post as reading: "Please inform me... He has been involved in the shooting of one of our brothers."

The Free Malaysia Today website quotes a criminologist as saying the move is an example of gang members' decaying moral values, adding: "[They] are not bothered when they publish their acts, as long they get highlighted and obtain more support. This makes them feel stronger." At the weekend, the Star highlighted how video footage of the funerals of alleged gang members was being posted on YouTube. There may be lessons from the similar use of social media in Mexico, where there have been reports of police tracing - and shooting - gangsters via their social media posts.

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