Forestry dept officials may be in cahoots with human traffickers

Forestry dept officials may be in cahoots with human traffickers
An abandoned migrant detention camp used by people smugglers in a jungle near the Malaysia-Thailand border. From May 11 to last Saturday, police personnel searched an area spanning 49.5km.

KUALA LUMPUR - The police are probing the possibility of enforcement officers, including those from the Forestry Department, being in cahoots with human traffickers responsible for the mass graves discovered near the Malaysia-Thai border.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the officers may not only be collaborating with locals but may also have international links in Thailand, Bangladesh and Myanmar.

"We suspect that some of them are in cahoots. We are also working with the Forestry Department, which is supposed to enforce the area, including the boundary between Malaysia and Thailand.

"But I would need to discuss the matter with the minister concerned," he said, referring to the Natural Resources and Environment Minister.

Speaking to reporters at the Parliament lobby Tuesday, Dr Ahmad Zahid said police were investigating the matter for possible murder, causing death or allowing immigrants to enter the country illegally.

"We do not deny the possibility," he said.

It was reported Monday that Malaysian police had found 139 graves and 27 human trafficking camps in Padang Besar, and that the bodies were being exhumed.

Dr Ahmad Zahid said then that the police forensic units working at the site were the same as those sent to Ukraine to identify the remains of MH17 victims.

Police were carrying out forensic tests not just to determine how many bodies were buried in each grave, but also if the bodies were Rohingya or Bangladeshi victims of human trafficking.

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