KAJANG: They have been operating near villages on the Thai border for years, trafficking vulnerable men, women and children into the country for profit.
Those who were too sick to make it ended up being ditched in mass graves that were discovered by Malaysian security forces in Padang Besar last week.
Vat69 commandos and General Operations Force personnel reportedly stumbled upon the horrific scene near 17 detention camps, which officials believe have been used for up to five years to hold human trafficking victims who were brought into Malaysia.
The camps, including 14 large settlements, were said to have been abandoned when officers found it.
Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi expressed shock, saying the police were still unearthing bodies in the jungle one week on.
“One grave probably has three, four bodies. So, we are still counting. The graves are in several areas including Wang Kelian and villages in the Thai border.
“With the help of the Thai authorities, I think we may find some more bodies.
“It looks like they have been here for quite some time. At least five years, I would say.
“The Inspector-General of Police and the deputy IGP are there now. More details will be given by the police soon,” he told reporters at the ministry’s Family Day celebration at the Kajang Prison.
He said checks by the Immigration Department on the migrants who landed in Langkawi earlier this month, suggest that the human trafficking racket was being run by Thais and recruitment agents from source countries such as Myanmar and Bangladesh.
But the discovery of the graves and camps on the Malaysian side of the border left little doubt that locals were involved too, he said.
“Malaysia as a government is not involved. But Malaysians, yes. I recognise that fact.