MELAKA: The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) today arrested the Melaka Tengah criminal investigation chief to assist in a widening investigation into a police protection racket for vice dens here.

The latest arrest brings the number of people detained in the probe thus far to 12.

An MACC source said the 49-year-old suspect, identified as Dept Superintendent T. Gunasagaran, was nabbed at his office at about 12.30pm today.

“The suspect, ranked deputy superintendent, was taken to the MACC headquarters in Putrajaya and will be remanded tomorrow,” he said.

In Putrajaya earlier today, the remand order against nine Melaka men, including two police district chiefs and four cops detained on May 16 and 17 in connection with the case, was extended by five days.

Magistrate Nik Isfahanie Tasnim Wan Ab Rahman granted the remand extension for the men, suspected of shielding and profiting from illegal gambling dens and massage parlours in Melaka for years.

The Melaka Tengah and Jasin district police chiefs and four other officers – two inspectors and two assistant superintendents of police (ASPs) – had been under remand since last Wednesday.

The six, aged between 31 and 54, were detained on suspicion of accepting bribes in exchange for providing protection to the illegal centres.

Meanwhile the remand order for the 52-year-old corporal – the 10th person arrested on May 17 in connection with the case – will expire tomorrow. However, the MACC spokesman said that the commission has yet to confirm whether they will apply for an extension for the corporal, who is attached with the Melaka police's Secret Societies, Gambling and Vice Division (D7).

The three other remanded men are civilians, one of whom allegedly acted as the middleman helping the officers collect kickbacks from the illegal centres’ operators. The self-employed man was remanded for six days on May 19 in Putrajaya. Magistrate Nadia Othman issued the remand order against the 32-year-old upon an application by the MACC.

The man, also the 11th person arrested in connection with the case, was arrested at 9pm on May 18 after he had given a statement at the MACC headquarters.

MACC deputy chief commissioner Datuk Azam Baki confirmed the latest developments in the case and added that investigations to collect further evidence are ongoing

He did not rule out that further arrests may be made in the coming days.