Malaysian police chief denies being told of human trafficking camps earlier

Malaysian police chief denies being told of human trafficking camps earlier
Malaysian Police exhume a grave in a jungle at Bukit Wang Burma.

KUALA LUMPUR - Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar is exasperated over claims that the police were said to have been informed of human trafficking camps at the Malaysia-Thai border much earlier.

"When things happen and a discovery is made, everyone wants to point fingers to say this person didn't do his duty or didn't take this action," he said after a medals presentation ceremony for CID officers here yesterday.

Tenaganita director Aegile Fernandez told The Star that accounts from family members of victims being kept in squalid conditions in camps at the border was relayed to police and the ASEAN Secretariat Committee some years ago.

"I wouldn't say there wasn't any information of the existence of these camps. There was enough info but we were not taken seriously," she claimed.

Khalid reacted strongly to her statement.

"When did they tell us?" he retorted.

He said police had not been sitting idle when it carried out checks on human trafficking crimes.

He declined to speak about the two police officers who had been detained in connection with the case or how many people were being probed in connection with the discovery of the graves, saying, "I need not tell you all (reporters)."

However, he confirmed that those responsible for the Wang Kelian graves were among the 37 Malaysians arrested for human trafficking this year.

Khalid also said police were studying requests by the Forestry Department for firearms for surveillance and security control along the border areas.

"If there is justification for it, we will approve the application from the department," he added.

On Monday, Khalid announced the discovery of 139 graves and 28 transit camps used to house victims of human trafficking, between Kampung Wai in Kuala Perlis and Tangga 100 at Felcra Lubuk Sireh, a distance of 11km.

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