BUKIT MERTAJAM, June 13 — Three men suspected of being exploited as forced labour in a “fucuk” (bean curd sheets) processing factory were rescued by police through “Ops Pintas Mega” in the Juru industrial estate here yesterday.

Penang police chief Datuk Hamzah Ahmad, when contacted, said the three foreign nationals are suspected of being victims of trafficking.

“We rescued three men who were believed to be in forced labour and the investigation was conducted under Sections 12 and 14 of the Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants (Atipsom) Act 2007,” he said.

The six-hour operation starting at 2pm was carried out by a team from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Penang police contingent headquarters (IPK) together with the Seberang Perai Tengah (SPT) IPK, who were joined by the Manpower Department (JTK), Seberang Perai City Council (MBSP), the Penang Health Department (JKNPP) and the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Cost of Living (KPDN).

The three victims aged between 17 and 21 have only been employed for three months. They were forced to process “fucuk” at the factory for nine hours every day.

It is understood that the employer warned them not to leave the factory area to avoid arrest by the authorities and they duly complied in order to get their monthly wages.

In the raid, a total of nine foreigners, including four women aged 25 to 42 who were apparently employees, were arrested, in addition to a 66-year-old man who was also the factory’s employer.

All of those detained were taken to Seberang Perai Tengah police headquarters for further action. — Bernama