News

together for ransom They were chained

When the police found them in a rundown house in Sungai Petani, Kedah, the four Myanmar nationals were weak and hungry.

And they were chained together like slaves.

The four were among 15 foreigners who were rescued by the police in raids in Sungai Petani and in George Town, Penang, on Wednesday.

The police believed that the Myanmar men, who are in their 30s, had not eaten for days, The Star reported.

The police raided the house following a tip-off. The house had been guarded by three Myanmar nationals in their 40s.

The three were taken into custody, said Kedah CID Chief Assistant Commissioner Mohd Nashir Ya, and the hunt is now on for the mastermind.

Investigations showed that the rescued foreigners were victims of a human trafficking syndicate whose members comprise Malay­sians and Myanmar nationals. The intention was to get ransom from the victim's families in Myanmar.

One of the victims told the police that he had entered the country nine days earlier.

He claimed that his family had to pay RM2,000 (S$765) to the syndicate before he could start work at a construction site.

LOCKED

Assistant Commissioner of Police Mohd Nashir said the four men, all of whom did not have valid travel documents, were locked inside the house pending payment.

He said the police also found a parang and a knife inside the house.

Meanwhile in George Town, the police stormed two adjacent 15th-storey flats to rescue 11 Bangladeshis.

They are believed to have been held for weeks by a local illegal immigrant trafficking syndicate.

The syndicate was demanding ransom of up to RM10,000 each from the families of the victims, the report said.

The raid in George Town was also the result of a tip-off. The police had monitored the place for several days before taking action.

The Star reported that the Bangladeshis looked weak.

Three men and one woman, all aged between 20 and 50, were arrested in the raid.

They had been watching over the victims, the police said.