KUALA LUMPUR, May 13 ― Police have confirmed that two local policemen were nabbed recently along with 36 others for their alleged involvement in human trafficking activities in northern Malaysia and southern Thailand.
According to Bukit Aman corporate communications officer Datin Asmawati Ahmad, both men, one a 47-year-old corporal and the other a 26-year-old lance corporal, were attached to a police station in a state up north.
"Their involvements are in the form of assistance rendered to syndicate members to get safe passage for the illegals to travel travel down south," Asmawati said.
Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar had earlier today announced that close cooperation between the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) and the Royal Thai Police had led to a successful crackdown on seven human trafficking syndicates last month.
"The suspects ― 21 Myanmarese, 16 Malaysians and an Indonesian ― were picked up between March and April this year.
"They comprised agents, syndicate leaders, transporters and two policemen," he said in statement.
The 38 nabbed, he added, were detained under Section 26(A) of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act 2007.
The IGP also revealed that the syndicates predominantly target Myanmar and Bangladesh nationals.
"They are also believed to be involved in falsifying United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) documents," he added.
Khalid then confirmed that police arrested the 1,018 migrants who were abandoned on the shores of Langkawi on Monday.
"They comprised 555 Bangladesh and 463 Myanmar nationals. Two vessels used by them were also seized," he said.
US news channel Al Jazeera America reported Sunday that some 1,600 Rohingya and Bangladeshi refugees have landed in Malaysia and Indonesia, apparently after human traffickers abandoned ship and left them alone.
Langkawi deputy police chief Jamil Ahmed reportedly said that most of the migrants were weak and thin, with one of them saying that they have not eaten for three days.
Yesterday, Deputy Home Minister Datuk Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the 1,058 nationals from Bangladesh and Myanmar will be held at the Belantik detention centre in Kedah over the next one to three months before they are sent back to their home countries.
He said they are classified as illegal immigrants as Putrajaya does not recognise any refugees, even if they come from countries in conflict.
“As far as Immigration is concerned, everyone is an immigrant,” Wan Junaidi told Malay Mail Online.
“We’re not a signatory to the United Nations’ Refugee Convention. We are not recognising anybody coming to our country as refugees; it doesn't matter if the country is a country of conflict. So we classify them as illegal immigrants,” he added.