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12 mosque break-ins in less than 10 days in Brunei
Publication Date : 08-01-2014
Police have recorded 12 mosque break-ins in less than 10 days, with the latest burglary reported at Kg Kapok mosque yesterday morning.
The safety boxes at Kg Kapok mosque, which contained donations for the orphans fund, were forced open, said a spokesperson from the Royal Brunei Police Force (RBPF).
It is possible that these mosque break-ins are related to one another, and that the culprits belong to a syndicate, said the spokesperson who did not want to be named.
Hj Shahbirin Hj Mohd Noor, the head imam of Kg Kapok mosque, said when he arrived at the mosque around 4.30am, the safety box was already broken into.
The mosque officer’s room was also ransacked, while the unused safety box inside the room was also opened, the imam told The Brunei Times.
He said the entrance to the mosque was not locked, but the culprit or culprits broke into the mosque by opening the side door, which had been locked for a long time.
Nothing else was stolen aside from the donation money, he said. He could not state how much was stolen.
Hj Shahbirin speculated that the culprits used saws to open the safety boxes. They must be “armed and dangerous”, he added.
“This happened right after after His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam announced the implementation of Syariah criminal law,” he said.
“Mosques are symbols of the Islamic faith, a place of worship. There are other places these people can go to but they chose mosques instead,” he added.
The head imam said he believed the culprits broke into the mosques to challenge the enforcement of Syariah law in the sultanate.
“They wanted to prove that they are brave, but we will see how long they will last,” he added.
Hj Shahbirin suggested ways to tighten the security of mosques, such as installing CCTVs that can connect directly to imams’ mobile phones.
He added that installing an alarm system which connects to speakers, preferably those at the (mosque) towers could alert everyone in case anything happened.
Security services could be a good option, but looking at the mosque funds, it seems unaffordable, said Hj Shahbirin.
The RBPF said only four out of the 12 mosques that were burgled had installed surveillance cameras. Police added they would intensify patrols, especially around mosques located within remote areas of villages.
The RBPF sought public cooperation to report any information related to the series of mosque break-ins by calling hotline 993 or visiting any police station.