12 cops suspected linked to human trafficking nabbed

28 May 2015 / 09:43 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: Authorities have arrested 12 police officers suspected to be linked to human trafficking activities.
Deputy Home Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Jaafar (pix) said today the possibility of them being connected to the mass graves found in Perlis is also being investigated.
Four of the officers were arrested by the police themselves while the other eight were picked up by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in three separate anti-human trafficking operations, dubbed "Ops Pintas".
"We are investigating the extent of their involvement, whether they are directly involved in the human trafficking, or knew about the activities but did not inform authorities about it," Wan Junaidi told a press conference in the Parliament lobby today.
He said personnel from other enforcement agencies, including the Immigration Department and Perlis Forestry Department, will not be spared from investigations.
A total of 43 people, believed involved in a syndicate smuggling people across the Malaysian border from Thailand, have also been nabbed in Ops Pintas, which has been ongoing since January 2014.
Also caught were 290 immigrants who tried to enter the country illegally from Thailand.
Asked why the mass graves had been undiscovered for quite some time, Wan Junaidi said it was due to several factors, including the terrain and accessibility.
"The graves are located on a plateau on the Malaysia-Thailand border, with the Malaysian side being very steep compared to the terrain on the Thai side which is flatter and more easily accessible," he said.
From the Malaysian side, the area is inaccessible by vehicles and requires a three-hour hike from the closest vehicle drop-off point, he said.
Asked if having the police probe their own personnel will compromise investigations, Wan Junaidi said it will not be an issue as this is being done by officers from Bukit Aman police headquarters.
Earlier, an emergency motion was passed by the Dewan Rakyat to debate the discovery of mass graves and human trafficking camps in Perlis.
Meanwhile, at the mass grave site in Bukit Wang Burma near Wang Kelian today, the remains of two more people were exhumed. Federal police corporate communications deputy head of ACP Datin Asmawati Ahmad said both the human remains, which were found wrapped in white cloth, have been sent to the Sultanah Bahiyah Hospital's pathology department for further investigations at 3pm.
The latest recovery brings to four the total number of bodies found so far.
Wan Junaidi said it will take a while for the authorities to exhume all bodies for identification.
"We are approaching this very slowly and cautiously, so any evidence in the mass graves can be preserved," he said, adding that he will be visiting the site in Perlis today.


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