Malaysian customs men hide behind pants

Malaysian customs officers arrive in court Image copyright Sin Chew Daily

Malaysian customs officers caused a scene when they turned up for a court hearing wearing underpants on their heads, in an apparent attempt to hide their identities.

Fifteen officers appeared at Petaling Jaya Magistrates Court for a remand hearing, and newspapers published photographs of at least six of them clad in brightly-coloured masks fashioned from male underwear. They were detained earlier in a crackdown on corruption in the customs service, Utusan Malaysia newspaper reports. The authorities are concerned that alcohol and tobacco smuggling is feeding organised crime and terrorism.

The customs chief of Perak State, Datuk Mohd Nasir Said, and several other officers have already been charged with more than 100 offences for allegedly turning a blind eye to smuggling. The Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission accuses them of accepting bribes with an upper range of 130,000 ringgit ($40,000; £25,500) each month. They face up to 20 years in jail and a fine of five times the sum of the bribes taken, the Rakyat Post reports. All officers deny the allegations.

Utusan Malaysia says the officers in fact had no need to don their underwear as headgear. "They should know the media is not allowed to publish photographs of the faces of people on remand, only when they have been formally charged".

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