SIBU: The Sessions Court here has granted an interim protection to 15 Indian nationals from their agents.
Judge Caroline Bee Manjali approved the request of the prosecution for their protection under Interim Protection Order of the Trafficking In-Person Act 2007.
Two consulates of the Indian High Commission were also present to assist the police in the case.
The 15 of them, aged between 21 and 27, were brought in by eight of their agents who are also Indian nationals after paying them a certain amount of fees.
They were promised jobs in the shipping industry here which did not materialise.
The case came to light when two of the victims walked into the central police station on Thursday, saying they were conned by their agents who promised to find jobs at a local shipyard.
They said after two weeks in the town, there were still no jobs for them.
They also claimed that their agents beat them up when they inquired on the promised jobs. After the assault they managed to escape and sought help from the police.
This led the police to rescue the rest of the victims from two different locations – five from a hotel at Jalan Cross on May 14 while the other group was found on May 16.
The arrest of two suspects was made on that day from a lodging house at Jalan Market.
The 15 victims would be sent to a protection centre in Tanjung Keling in Malacca.
Deputy district police chief Supt Martin Koo said the eight suspects were now being remanded for 14 days for further investigations.
“We are probing whether they are involved in trafficking these 15 persons before referring the matter to the state attorney-general for further action under Section 12 of the Trafficking In-Person Act 2007,” he said.
He said the police viewed the case very seriously as no persons should be trafficked into a foreign country and be mistreated.