It often seems like the most corrupt sector in society is that of politicians. Scandals in recent months in Brazil, Argentina, South Korea and many other countries seem to reinforce that the combination of extraordinary power combined with the naturally ambitious natures of those who go into politics to create a perfect storm for corruption. Even this past week, a former senator from Puerto Rico was charged with lying under oath and violating an ethics law for government officials. She had recently given testimony in a corruption case.
Ronald K. Noble, founder of RKN Global, cautions that while politics can create a “perfect storm” for corruption, it is not necessary to have that perfect storm in order to have opportunities for corruption. Indeed, power need not be at the level of a senator, governor or president: the level of power that is needed to corrupt its holder is simply that which someone else without that power wants to avail themselves of. And the personality type of a stereotypical politician (in the worst sense of the stereotype) is not needed for corruption to take hold—even those who start out with the most noble of intentions.
Police are a good example. An individual police officer does not wield significant power over the public the way an elected official does. He or she cannot approve or improperly grease the wheels for a government contract, for example. But individual police officers still wield power over a particular group, which can be abused by member of that group: Accused criminals.
Accused criminals are allegedly behind the corruption of a police officer in Malaysia who just a few years ago was the recipient of an exemplary service award. Mahyuddin Abdullah, the deputy chief of the Commercial Crimes unit of the Sabbah state police, finds himself on the other side of the law. Prosecutors allege that he received payments and agreed to receive further payment from Josepin Langkan, who was being investigated for cheating, in exchange for impeding the investigation and prevent any prosecution of her.
An individual police officer does not have much power. But that little power can be important to those who can benefit from it, like those under investigation from police. Which means that police can become a target for bribery. If a police officer, even who had been previously honest, was in a hard financial position due to divorce, a gambling habit, or other unfortunate circumstances, he or she might be more easily tempted to accept a bribe and pervert justice.
We have previously seen other police who have fallen victim to corruption. The case of Damacio Diaz in Bakersfield, California was an especially tragic story with a similar plotline of a police officer who began by taking bribes from criminals, but who then completely crossed the line into regular criminal behavior himself.