Sungai Petani Police Station, Kedah, Malaysia. Photo: Google Maps

A five-member Vietnamese ring who allegedly targeted safe boxes at shopping malls, warehouses, factories and gasoline stations in several states in Malaysia were arrested by Kedah police during the early hours of Monday.

At around 4am in Sungai Petani, Kedah state, police intercepted a car in which the five men, aged between 25 and 30, were found to have carried potential break-in tools such as crowbars, grinders, grinder blades, screwdrivers and cutters, the China Press reported.

A preliminary investigation found that the men had entered Malaysia legally.

They usually broke in premises between 2am and 5am as drilling and cracking open metal safe boxes took time, the report said.

They were allegedly responsible for at least 20 thefts involving safes in a few districts in Kedah since 2017, with total losses possibly reaching around 100,000 ringgit (US$24,740).

The five men were detained for four days to assist in the investigation under Section 395 (gang robbery) and Section 397 (armed robbery) of the Malaysian Penal Code.