KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - A total of 18 people have been arrested over two days in connection with the theft and subsequent riots near Low Yat Plaza.
City police chief Comm Datuk Tajuddin Md Isa said those arrested were aged between 16 and 40, including the man who was suspected of stealing a mobile phone at the shopping complex on Saturday.
He also refuted claims that the main suspect in the theft case was actually a victim of fraud, whereby he was sold a clone phone.
There are too many rumours and false news in social media. This is one of the reason violence escalated last night and early this morning, Tajuddin said.
Comm Tajuddin confirmed that the main investigation was focused on theft of a mobile phone and it was not racially motivated.
He also assured the public that police presence would be beefed up to maintain order near the Low Yat area.
Comm Tajuddin said police would be monitoring social media and did not rule out action against those who spread false news and incite hatred among the people.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said The Sedition Act will be used against those who destroy racial harmony in the Low Yat Plaza incident.
He said he was disappointed at what took place at Low Yat Plaza and the comments on social media following Sunday's incident.
"The people should not create racial hatred via the internet or messaging apps on their phones.
"I have ordered the Home Ministry and Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission to monitor them thoroughly and at the same time I will use the relevant Acts, especially the Sedition Act, against those who destroy racial harmony," said Najib in a Mandarin statement on his Facebook page.
On Sunday, five people, including two journalists, were injured in a mob attack at the plaza in Bukit Bintang which was sparked by what police said was due to a shoplifting incident earlier in the evening.
Source: The Star