Friday, March 2, 2007

Peeping Toms show cuddling couples online

KUALA LUMPUR: A pair of snoops have been getting cheap thrills by video-taping and threatening couples in compromising positions at secluded spots.

The usual modus operandi of the Peeping Toms is to creep up on an unsuspecting couple who are either locked in embrace or sitting in close proximity and then confront them.

As the couple gape in shock at the unexpected intrusion into their privacy, they are hit with a barrage of questions, most of them personal and some intimate.

Among questions asked by the "officers", who pretend to be religious department staff, are if the couple are married and what they were doing before being "caught".

Most are tongue-tied, and some girls burst into tears.

The Peeping Toms then post the five- to seven-minute video clips on a website.

All of those caught on video have been Muslims, with the exception of an Indian couple.

What is puzzling is the fact that none of the couples questioned the status of the "officers", who were in plainclothes.

Neither did they ask the "officers" for authority cards.

None of the video clips showed how the encounter ended but it is understood that the couples were let off with a warning.

Most of the encounters were at car parks, parks and bus-stops.

These incidents come in the wake of the Terengganu government’s short-lived plan last month to send spies out to check on cases of close proximity and vice involving unmarried young Muslim couples.

Terengganu Islam Hadhari and Welfare Committee chairman Datuk Rosol Wahid had said that the Mat Skodeng (Peeping Toms) would be part of a voluntary squad under the guidance of state religious advisors.

Some of the spies, he said, could be waitresses or even janitors at hotels, acting as auxiliary undercover agents for the religious department.

The Mat Skodeng were to have received monetary rewards for their efforts.

Meanwhile, the Federal Territory Islamic Department (Jabatan Agama Islam Wilayah Persekutuan or Jawi) said its officers were not involved in the matter.

A spokesman said the department only used "spies" in cases involving deviant teachings or underworld movements.

"As for this case, we will investigate the matter.

"We have in the past received reports of bogus Jawi enforcement officers."

He warned those posing as religious department officers that they could be hauled up under Syariah.

"People unsure of who they are dealing with can demand authority cards or report the matter to us."

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