Police shot dead 11 suspected robbers at three locations near Klang, 25 kilometres west of Kuala Lumpur, yesterday. They claimed to have wiped out in less than an hour all but a few members of a gang that has been active throughout Malaysia for the past few months. One of the biggest multiple killings of wanted men in Malaysia in recent times, it follows a series of shootouts that have resulted in the deaths of 33 alleged criminals by bullets fired from police guns this year. Earlier this month five men, all Chinese, who were said to be involved in rapes and robberies throughout the country, were shot dead by police after a car chase in a Kuala Lumpur suburb. Twelve criminals have met their deaths in similar fashion in Johor state. Police said the 11 men shot yesterday were members of a gang wanted in connection with 18 robberies. They worked in groups of three or four, armed with guns and parangs (curved Malay knives). The police chief of Selangor state, Yaacob Mohamad Amin, said the suspects opened fire when their vehicles were stopped, forcing police to shoot back. No police personnel were injured in the gunbattles, which lasted 30 to 45 minutes in the early morning. Police recovered two .38 mm revolvers, a working pistol and an imitation pistol, three parangs, three rounds of live ammunition, eight spent cartridges and masks. Separate police patrols stopped two cars and a van. Three men were shot in the first car and four in the second. Another four were killed in the van. Three men escaped. The Deputy Home Minister, Megat Junid Ayob, said Malaysian criminals were paying illegal immigrants to carry out robberies. He said they were hired because their lack of identification or travel documents hampered investigations.