SHAH ALAM, Nov 14 — Selangor police rescued 56 victims forced to work for begging syndicates after they were trafficked into the country.
Selangor police chief Commissioner Datuk Pahlawan Mazlan Mansor said syndicates enlisted senior citizens and children, most of whom were unwilling, to beg under the pretext of charity, run by welfare homes or for religious causes.
“These fundraising activities conducted on the side of the streets or restaurants are against the law.
“Even if they are able to provide documents to prove their legitimacy, we do not care,” he said.
He urged the public not to give in to bogus alms begging activities run by syndicates who exploited individuals.
A state-wide crackdown operation codenamed “Ops Ehsan” aimed at weeding out such activities saw the arrest of 52 suspects and 56 victims rescued in 24 raids conducted since July.
The rescued beggars were aged between eight and their 50s, and some were victims of human trafficking.
Mazlan said 14 begging syndicate have been charged and tried in court for offences committed under the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, the Immigration Act and related Acts since July.
“This culture of inciting sympathy for profit has to stop,” he told reporters after the monthly assembly at Selangor police headquarters yesterday morning.
In other developments, Selangor recorded an 18 per cent reduction in its crime index attributed to provisions of the Prevention of Crime Act 1959 (POCA) against detainees since January.
Mazlan said the crime prevention aspect provided by the law has deterred criminal activities.
“Under POCA, 372 people were arrested this year up till October compared to 262 for the same period, an increase of 110 people,” he said.
He said out of the 372 detained, 173 were involved in violent crimes and 142 in offences against properties.
The remaining 48 were involved in gangsterism, six in online gambling and three in criminal syndicates (prostitution, human trafficking and lottery fraud).
Additionally, 451 investigation case files under POCA had been opened compared to 306 last year.
Mazlan said businesses that dealt with the purchase of illicit goods also played a role in crime related to theft.
“Criminals would dispose their stolen loot by reselling the items for cash, particularly to scrapyards or second-hand dealers.
“I’m telling these dealers, licensed or non-licensed, to be careful from now on as we will take aggressive action and would not hesitate to use POCA against them for repeated offences,” he said.
Police checks revealed 31 out of 69 premises inspected had been listed for revocation while 80 premises had their licenses revoked last year.
He said as long as there people willing to buy stolen goods, criminals would be encouraged to commit crimes.
“This has been going on for too long and it’s time to take serious action against them,” he said.