24 Hours

Is it this rules only happen in the TV or it is true? When I was a kid the time always watch the Hong Kong movie inside the scene when the victim's family went to the police station and report missing person and the police man always ask the victim has he/she lost for more then 24 hours already? If don't have then they have to wait for 24 hours.
Why oh......??? Why.....??? Why a person if missing and we need to wait for 24 hours then can go report police? If not the police they don't want to take the case one leh? I think this rule is ridicules and it should change from now. Is it have to wait it really die or raped ka? 
I really don't understand why have to wait that long.... Why can't just help people to search for it instate of have to wait for 24 hours....
But I think this is only happen back in 20 years ago lah... now shouldn't have anymore. Like I saw always got people lost in the Bukit Shabandar once reported straight away the police and bomba go help and look for it.... If still like need 24 hours in the movie one.. I don't know who is going to die first!!!!