Cops rescue 10 Myanmar migrants and nab couple

GEORGE TOWN - Police rescued 10 Myanmar migrants and nabbed a couple and their three-day-old baby and eight-year-old child from their house in Simpang Ampat, in southern Seberang Perai.

The couple, a 35-year-old Myanmar national who holds a UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) card and his 21-year-old wife, are said to be agents for an illegal immigrant trafficking syndicate.

The rescued migrants, aged eight and 22 years, looked weak and were sprawled on the floor when the police ambushed the house in Jalan Besar at 8pm on Saturday after a tip-off.

Penang police chief Senior Deputy Comm Datuk Abdul Rahim Hanafi said they had to use a cutter to enter the house as the suspects were not cooperative.

"Our probe found that a transporter had sent the migrants to the house after receiving them from a tekong.

"The migrants were waiting for ransom to be paid, either by their family members back home or employers, so they could be freed," SDCP Abdul Rahim said at a press conference at the state police headquarters yesterday.

He said the couple had been remanded for seven days to facilitate the probe.

Initial investigations showed that the migrants were brought in from Padang Besar, Thailand, and had been held captive by the couple for nearly a week inside the house.

The couple had demanded between RM4,000 and RM6,000 from their family members in Myanmar or their prospective employers for their release.

SDCP Abdul Rahim said police seized RM1,000 and five handphones as well as receipts said to be for ransom paid for the release of captured immigrants and a notebook used to keep track of the syndicate's trafficking activities.

He added that the case was being investigated.