Illegal motorcycle races, fueled by competitive gambling, are becoming increasingly prevalent in Kuching, Sarawak.
In the Kampung Semadang-Bau area of Kurching, the most populated region of Sarawak, Malaysia, locals are taking to the streets and holding dangerous illegal street-races.
The races, usually held throughout the night until about 4am during weekends, threaten public safety and have resulted in numerous accidents to date.
At any one illegal race, there can be as many as 50 racers, motivated by cash-strapped gambling syndicates putting up lucrative prizes for the winners.
Malaysian gambling laws allow some forms of gambling, although sportsbetting is banned; however, perhaps as a result, wagers in illegal activities and illegal sportsbetting seems to be on the rise.
Situation said to be ‘worsening’
A Kampung Semadang Development and Security Committee spokesman said the police and road transport department should clamp down on the illegal races.
Pleading anonymity, he said: “The illegal races take place on Saturdays and Sundays, right up to 3am or 4am, threatening public safety. Although no fatality has been reported, several accidents have taken place at the height of the races. Our pleas to the illegal racers and their parents to put an end to the races have fallen on deaf ears.’’
He added: “The situation has only worsened. I understand the illegal races involve betting in cash, and youths from Kampung Semadang and outsiders make up the 50-odd racers during each race.”
A police report was lodged and patrols were conducted.
Internet and mobile betting is strictly prohibited in Malaysia, and it seems people are looking more options than the limited offerings currently in place in the state of Sarawak.