PUTRAJAYA: Questions have been raised as to why evidence collected from an illegal settlement camp in Wang Kelian was handed over to a Special Branch officer and not to the Criminal Investigation Department.
The matter was brought up during the first day of Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) into the discovery of mass graves found in the area four years ago.
The evidence comprised a log book written in Thai, a Thai driving licence, a mobile telephone, three SIM cards, a DVD player and a Bollywood movie VCD.
Kpl Mat Ten (pic), 54, of the General Operations Force (GOF), said he found the items at the site on Jan 19, 2015.
He was part of the team that discovered illegal settlement camps that eventually led to the discovery of the mass graves.
He said he handed over the evidence to his superior Insp Mossadique Azni.
Insp Mossadique said his superior Asst Supt Joeking M. Maniam had asked him to keep the items “but we do not have a locker at our post.
“I handed them over to disciplinary officer ASP Azizie Mohd (from the police tactical headquarters in Bukit Kayu Hitam) who came over for a routine check, because he had a locker at his place,” he said.
To a question by RCI conducting officer Saiful Hazmi Mohd Saad, Insp Mossadique said he handed the evidence over to ASP Azizie because he was asked if they had seized any items from the site.
ASP Azizie agreed that he had no authority to keep the evidence.
“I received the evidence at night on Jan 28 (2015), and handed them over to ASP Jamaluddin Shah from the Special Branch the next day,” he said.
Saiful Hazmi asked ASP Azizie why he handed the evidence over to a Special Branch officer and not to the Criminal Investigation Department officer.
He replied that ASP Jamaluddin had requested for it earlier.
“That was why I asked Insp Mossadique if they had found anything at the site,” he said.
ASP Azizie also said they did not have a specific store to keep exhibits.
The RCI headed by former Chief Justice Tun Arifin Zakaria convened yesterday to investigate procedures implemented by the authorities during and after the discovery of human trafficking camps and graves in Wang Kelian, Perlis, in 2015.
The other members of the panel include former IGP Tan Sri Norian Mai, former heads of Prosecution and Research in the Attorney General’s Chambers Datuk Noorbahri Baharuddin and Datuk Junaidah Abdul Rahman, former Malaysian ambassador to Thailand Datuk Nazirah Hussin, former Public Accounts Committee deputy chairman Dr Tan Seng Giaw, and Human Rights Commission of Malaysia chairman Tan Sri Razali Ismail.
Kpl Mat said he was surprised to find soap bubbles along the stream which led him to the camp.
“I went upstream and found a woman washing. Luckily, she didn’t notice me,” he said.
He also discovered an unattended shop, observation posts, and wooden bridges between trees “just like a scene from the Rambo movies”.
Kpl Mat and his partner Kpl Yusof Islam Hassan returned to their base in Wang Kelian to report the matter to their superiors.
They went to the site the next day with eight more GOF personnel.
“When we returned, I saw the same woman holding a mobile telephone.
“I heard a beep sound on her telephone. She read a message on it and she turned around looking panicky.
“She then screamed to the others, saying that the police had come. Several people were seen running away,” he said, adding that he and other GOF personnel later found six migrants who were locked up in a hut at the site.