A need to invest in security

With the recent spate of attacks, robberies and snatch thefts, we really need to pay more attention to security issues – with emphasis on ‘pay’.

On Sunday, I visited a friend who was staying in a hotel along Old Klang Road in Petaling Jaya. At the time, there was another man in the room.

Minutes later, there was a knock on the door. A boy rushed in, breathless.

The other man in the room had left the boy and a couple of girls in his car while visiting the friend. Someone on a motor-cycle had knocked on the car window, asking for directions. And when they lowered the windows, the knives had come out.

The trio lost what little money they had, along with their handphones. They couldn’t even call to tell the guy about their problem. Thus, the dash to the hotel room.

Reality had hit close to home, even as we were talking about the recent spate of robberies in car parks and malls.

Call it a weird coincidence, but that hotel overlooks the scene of probably the most-publicised case of car park abduction and assault in the country. It was here, along Old Klang Road, that Canny Ong, after being abducted in Bangsar, was raped, murdered and torched in 2003.

And only last week, I had visited the Bangsar Shopping Centre from where she had been taken.

After the recent spate of robberies and attacks on women in malls and hypermarkets, I had wanted to see how much the security in the mall had improved. I must say I came away fairly impressed.

The car park was quite brightly lit, there were guards at both entrances and exits – and they were peering into the cars that were entering and leaving. I guess that’s to ensure no abduction ever takes place again.

There were a couple of guys on bikes, and a couple of others on bicycles. And yet another was walking from car to parked car, checking if all were secure. And the guy in the long-sleeved shirt slouched near the fire hydrant? He was the supervisor.

These were not your retired pakciks and uncles, trying make some extra money. They were Nepali army-trained personnel. They looked nice and smiled at everyone but one wrong move, and they can turn nasty. Really nasty, I am told.

Vincent Tan, the BSC asset and property management senior manager says they have 350 CCTV cameras covering all basements and floors.

They’ve also got dog units that patrol the area after dark. And if you are afraid to walk to your car at night, all you have to do is ask and the guards come along in buggies to take you to your vehicle.

More importantly, there are these blue pillars with panic buttons on them. You press the buttons, and the guards come running. They are even to be found in the ladies’ washrooms – the panic buttons, not the guards.

Of course, all that sounds good but I did have a couple of unanswered questions. Other malls are mulling ladies-only parking areas but I didn’t see any such markings there. There may be plans, though, says a friend who works there.

And how many people would know about the panic buttons? There is little by way of education.

I would have plastered notices of these measures all over the mall to make sure everyone would know what to do – and also tell the ladies to take note of the nearest blue column when they park. That way, they would know where to run when faced with an emergency.

It’s bad enough having nowhere to run when robbers hit you at home, or target the elderly, as they have been doing recently. Being robbed while out having retail therapy is hardly therapeutic.

I would think that security, indeed, is something worth investing in as far as malls and hypermarkets are concerned. After all, a mall that’s seen to be safe is likely to bring in the crowds and the paying customers. The key word, however, is “investing”.

Security guards, by and large, get paid pittance. And they have to throw their bodies in the line of fire. Guards in many factories and residential areas are paid as low as RM700 a month.

And in the malls, I am told, they may get RM900 to RM1,000. And I know of Myanmars who help out at hawker stalls and earn about RM2,000 a month!

Maybe we should be rethinking the value of the security guards. After all, if we expect them to lay their life on the line to save ours, we should be ready to pay a fair price.

After all, it’s also the price of our limbs and our lives.

Why Not? By D. RAJ

The writer is dreaming of the day when we can have mall cops – friendly, well-paid policemen who ensure our security everywhere. But, for now, that remains a dream.

70 more websites seized in US copyright crackdown

A Louis Vuitton clock at the Louis Vuitton Fall/Winter 2012-2013 ready-to-wear collection show at the Louvre, Paris, in March. US authorities seized 70 websites suspected of selling counterfeit goods using luxury brand names such as Louis Vuitton, Tiffany or Burberry and sports logos like NFL and MLB, officials said Thursday.

US authorities seized 70 websites suspected of selling counterfeit goods using luxury brand names such as Louis Vuitton, Tiffany or Burberry and sports logos like NFL and MLB, officials said Thursday.

The seizures under five separate warrants in US courts is the latest action of Project Copy Cat, an effort of the US ‘s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office.

ICE director John Morton told AFP that the latest seizures included some highly sophisticated operations, which created websites that looked nearly identical to legitimate ones.

“These are copycat sites, it is a very sophisticated effort to masquerade as the legitimate site,” Morton said. “It is not getting people to buy cheap knockoffs, it is getting people to pay full price or nearly full price.”

Some sites also use a fake SSL () certificate that leads customers to believe their credit cards are encrypted, officials said.

“This allows people to believe their financial information is encrypted but that seal is counterfeited as well,” ICE spokesman Justin Cole said.

Since the effort began in 2010, a total of 839 websites or have been seized.

This includes websites using the name louisvuittononlineoutletus.com or tiffanyandcojewelrysale.net, aimed at deceiving consumers into thinking they are purchasing legitimate goods from Tiffany or Louis Vuitton.

Many of the goods are counterfeit items made in China, officials said.

Morton said cooperation with is “uneven, but it is getting better.”

“There is a distressingly high level of this activity coming out of China,” he said.

The seized sites, all hosted in the United States, have their front page replaced with images of federal seals from the US Departments of Justice and Homeland Security.

Visitors to the sites are met with a message reading: “This domain name has been seized by ICE — Homeland Security Investigations, pursuant to a seizure warrant issued by a United States District Court.”

Cole said the owners of the websites have an opportunity to contest the seizure in court by showing they are selling legitimate goods.

“But in the most cases these are counterfeit producers and this is not happening,” he said.

“In many cases these guys start up a new website and we have to find them again.”

Of the 769 previous domain names seized, 229 have now been forfeited to the US government, officials said.

During the operation, federal agents made undercover purchases of a host of products, including baby carriers, professional sports jerseys, language and fitness DVD sets, and a variety of clothing, jewelry and luxury goods.

In cases where the goods were confirmed to be counterfeit or otherwise illegal, authorities went to court to obtain warrants to seize the domain names for the websites.

The probe stems from an intellectual property task force set up by the Justice Department.

Pending legislation would give US authorities even more tools to crack down on “rogue” websites accused of piracy of movies, television shows and music and the sale of .

The bills have been backed by the Motion Picture Association of America, the Recording Industry Association of America, the US Chamber of Commerce and others.

But they have come under fire from digital rights groups and Internet heavyweights such as Facebook, Google, Twitter and Yahoo! who say they raise censorship concerns and threaten the architecture of the web.

(c) 2012 AFP

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