New Straits Times
Gang targets newly-weds for their gold
By Ben Tan
JOHOR BARU:Of late, a gang of burglars has been targeting the homes of newly-wed Chinese couples here.
They would break into the houses for cash and gold jewellery when the families were at their wedding banquets. The gang, which targets homes in urban residential areas, was able steal thousands of ringgit in cash and jewellery in just 15 minutes.
The houses of newly-weds or that of their parents normally contain ang pow given by family members and guests during the traditional tea ceremony held before the banquet.
Most of the Chinese here, who are Teochew or Hokkien, keep gold jewellery, called si tiam kim (four points of gold in Teochew), to be given as gifts to the bride in their homes during the wedding. The si tiam kim consists of a pair of earrings, a necklace, a bracelet and a ring.
Sources told the New Sunday Times that most weddings took place during the weekend and there was no time to bank in the cash or place the jewellery in a safe deposit box.
“Another glaring giveaway to the burglars is the red sash and Chinese characters emblazoned on the main door of the bride’s home in preparation for the tea ceremony.
“Come the wedding dinner on Saturday or Sunday, the whole family will go to the restaurant or hotel by 4pm,” said a source.
Initial investigations revealed that the burglars, believed to be working in groups of two or three, would make their rounds in residential areas before the weekend.
Once they targeted a home, a visual inspection of its surroundings was made for alarm systems and the proximity of the break-in points to the immediate neighbour’s house.
The source said the burglars preferred corner-lot houses where the break-in and exit was easier through the roof. The gang would strike between 6pm and 8pm.
“They would enter the newly-weds’ bedroom, where the ang pow and gold jewellery were usually kept.
“Most of the time, the burglars would leave the other parts of the house untouched. They were only interested in the ang pow and si tiam kim,” added the source.
Johor police chief Datuk Mokhtar Shariff said police were aware of the cases and had been monitoring the situation.