Police rescue 11 kids from KL-based begging syndicate

KUALA LUMPUR: Police rescued 11 children between aged between two and 16-years-old and arrested five Rohingya "guardians" after busting a begging syndicate that used children as beggars.

The rackets, police learnt, was run by foreigners.

The raids were launched after police received a tip-off on the syndicate's activities.

Bukit Aman Special Tactical Squad for Anti-Vice, Gambling and Gangsterism (STAGG) principal assistant director SAC Mohd Nadzri Hussain said police have been carrying out surveillance activities since November last year to clamp down on the problem.

"The syndicate, led by a man and four women, used children to beg under the pretext of collecting donations for religious causes. Their modus operandi is by selling packets of tissues and Quran verses to the people around Bukit Bintang and KLCC besides asking donations," he said today.

Nadzri revealed that the so called "guardians" would force the children to beg from 7pm to 11pm.

"The guardians and the children stayed at an apartment in Ampang. The guardians and the victims would get to the city by bus. When the children are released to beg, the guardians will monitor them from the streets and pedestrian walkway near KLCC and Bukit Bintang," he said.

He added that the children were also trained to target tourists and to force them to donate by pulling the visitor's clothes in order to get their attention and sympathy.

The syndicate could collect between RM80 and RM90 in a day.

The suspects were arrested by a police team from the federal anti-human trafficking unit at 11pm on Sunday.

Police also seized nine United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) cards, eight handphones, 32 slips of Quran verses, 20 tissue packets and RM532 in cash.

The case is being investigated under Section 14 of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti- Smuggling of Migrants 2007 (Atipsom) and Section 6(1) of the Immigration Act 1959/63.