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[May 04, 2014]
Cable thieves defy death [New Straits Time (Malaysia)]
(New Straits Time (Malaysia) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) BENTONG: THIEVES are risking life and limb by stealing copper wires from the light-emitting diode (LED) street lamps in the Kuala Lumpur-Karak Expressway here.
The culprits had been targeting the lamp posts and copper cables along the 17km stretch between the Gombak toll plaza and the Genting Sempah tunnel, near here.
This has forced the highway concessionaire Anih Berhad to fork out some RM4 million for repair works since 2011.
Anih Berhad director Wan Razali Wan Muda said four years ago, the stretch along the East Coast Expressway, created history when it became the country's first highway installed with electricity- saving LED street lighting.
However, he said, some irresponsible parties had pried open and made-off with the copper cables connecting the lights, forcing the company to repair the damaged lighting poles and replace the stolen cables.
"There were cases of thieves being electrocuted while trying to cut the copper wires. Some were also nabbed while unearthing the cables.
"However, the incidents had not served as a lesson to them and there is little we can do to solve the problem.
"Numerous thefts were reported over the past three years, and, on each occasion, when they steal the cables, some 50 lamps will not be able to operate.
"The missing cables will affect the power supply to certain stretches, resulting in the area being left in darkness until our maintenance workers replace them," he told the New Straits Times.
Wan Razali said due to the increase in copper thefts, Anih Berhad was forced to bury the copper wires below a concrete surface, but that has not deterred the thieves.
"Furious when they could not steal the cables, the thieves vented their frustration by sawing and damaging lamp posts. Despite realising that they were handling live electricity, they continued their activities.
"Our staff, along with highway police patrol personnel, have now increased our monitoring along the stretch to reduce such cases." In 2011, the government spent some RM18 million to install 96 sets of the super high brightness LED lights on both sides of the expressway in the country's first LED street lighting project.
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