Police cripple human trafficking syndicate, 77 arrested

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) – Police have crippled an international human trafficking syndicate whose network stretched across Myanmar, Thailand, and Malaysia with the arrest of 77 people, including the mastermind, a Malaysian, in a series of operations conducted by the Federal Police (Bukit Aman) Special Branch from September 22 until yesterday.

Bukit Aman Special Branch Deputy Director II Datuk Cheong Koon Kock said those arrested in the four-day raids in 12 locations, in the Klang Valley, Pahang, Penang, and Kelantan, comprised locals and Myanmar nationals.

“During the operation, 66 Myanmar nationals were detained. Police also arrested other syndicate members comprising five from Myanmar, the mastermind and five other Malaysians, who had acted as agents and transporters.

“All the Myanmar nationals are believed to have been smuggled into the country and brought to certain places before being sent to locations among others in the Klang Valley, Pahang, Penang, and Kelantan,” he told a press conference at Bukit Aman, yesterday.

Cheong said the syndicate, which was first detected in April, had used land routes in Thailand before bringing the illegals across the Golok River to Rantau Panjang in Kelantan.

They were brought in to work at plantations, he said, adding that, three of the illegals were United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) card holders.

All the syndicate members were arrested under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (SOSMA) 2012, while the Myanmar migrants were detained under the Immigration Act 1959/63.

Bukit Aman Special Branch Deputy Director II Datuk Cheong Koon Kock. PHOTO: BERNAMA