THERE seems to be no end to the hide-and-seek game between the authorities and foreign child beggars in Selangor.
The children, who had the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) cards on them, kept changing their base of operations constantly to escape the authorities.
They have apparently moved from their regular spots in Klang town to areas in Shah Alam and traffic lights junctions at the exit to highways.
Recently, StarMetro spotted some of them at a traffic lights junction near Politeknik Shah Alam, along the Jalan Subang – Guthrie Corridor interchange in Section 13 of Shah Alam.
Checks revealed that the children had been switching up their locations from time to time to avoid being caught by the enforcement authorities especially from the Selangor Welfare Services Department.
Local resident Samad Idris, 50, who had closely followed the movement of the young beggars, said Klang remained their base as the Rohingya refugees lived in numerous areas in the Royal Town.
“Their families live along Jalan Kapar, Jalan Meru and Jalan Kampung Jawa and therefore they usually carry out their activities around Klang.
“However, they also change their spots when they sense being watched by the authorities or the media,” he said
It is also believed that the children changed their focus to Shah Alam for the whole of last month.
Several boys sporting festive attire were seen waiting at traffic lights junctions for the light to turn red, facing vehicles heading from the Guthrie Highway and North Klang Valley Expressway (NKVE) to the Federal Highway.
Once the light turned red, the boys knocked on the windows of the vehicles asking for money.
Motorists were seen giving RM1 and RM5, while some were also seen offering up to RM10.
On completing their rounds, the children would go back to their starting point to store the collected money in a plastic container hidden under a broken concrete drain cover.
Checks also revealed that another group of children continued their daily activity in Klang, begging from motorists along Jalan Pos near the former Klang North bus terminal.
A trader who declined to be identified, said only a few of them were begging in the area because he believed others had moved to Shah Alam due to recent raids by the authorities.
He said some of the foreign children were also caught during the raid but returned after several days.
“It is strange that these children kept returning even after being nabbed,” he said
A Selangor Welfare Services Department officer told StarMetro that 80 beggars, including 50 foreigners were caught during a statewide raid against beggars two weeks ago.
“We have handed over the Rohingya beggars to UNHCR while the locals were sent to rehabilitation centres,” he said.
On the Rohingya child beggars, the official said the department was aware that the children had changed their base often.
“We also had difficulty catching them because they would run off on realising the presence of enforcement authorities.
“We fear for their safety especially when trying to nab them at busy traffic light junctions,” he said, adding that the department was unable to do anything more than to surrender them to the UNHCR.
On Nov 23 last year, StarMetro exposed the activity of the Rohingya child beggars in Klang.
About 20 of the children were seen begging along Jalan Pos, Jalan Raja Hassan and the Bulatan Seratus roundabout in Persiaran Sultan Ibrahim and the five-foot ways of the streets.