PUTRAJAYA, June 13 — The Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) into the discovery of temporary transit camps and mass graves in Wang Kelian, Perlis today was told that more than one human trafficking syndicate were suspected to have set up the illegal base discovered four years ago.

ASP Mohd Yusof Ariffin, from the Vat 69 Commando team and the 45th witness in the RCI, said he came to this conclusion based on his observations on the layout of the 16 bases (locations) that were turned into temporary transit camps in Wang Kelian when he joined the operations in May 2015.

“There were food trays in one base, while in another, no trays were found. Items found also differed from one base to another. There were bases secured with barbed wires while some others were left unfenced. We found no graves in all of these bases,” he said.

Mohd Yusof said other items found in all 16 bases were Thai rice, stale cooked rice, a teddy bear and clothes. 

The teams also found a tent in one base which had been used as a surau and which had the name Musafirin written on it.

Replying to a question by RCI chairman Tun Ariffin Zakaria on why such a large scale transit camp was not discovered by the authorities much earlier, Mohd Yusof said a regular person would not venture into thick jungle areas without reason.

“Moreover, on the Malaysian side, the area fronting the jungle is where the Perlis State Park is located, which requires a permit to enter. The distance from the (jungle) fringes right to the camp located in the middle of the jungle is about 35km via a zig-zag route. To reach the camp, you will need very high levels of jungle exploration expertise as there are many natural barriers along the way, besides contours with extremely steep slopes,” he said.

When asked for his suggestions on how to beef up security in the area, Mohd Yusof said previously-used logging tracks can be cleared to allow enforcement personnel to use scrambler motorcycles for omnipresence patrolling thrice a month.

Meanwhile, Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) Chairman Datuk A. Aziz A. Rahim testified that there was no evidence to support allegations of a coordinated cover up of the camp discovery by any police officer or by those from other enforcement agencies.

“Media reports have also not finger pointed any officer said to have tried to cover up the case. If at all, action must be taken against any officer identified to have done so. (We) cannot punish the whole (police) force,” he said.

The RCI continues on Monday. — Bernama