Wang Kelian camps possibly run by different syndicates, RCI told

VAT69  group commander Mohd Yusof Ariffin.

PUTRAJAYA: A member of an elite police force today alluded to the possibility of different syndicates involved in alleged human trafficking in Perlis, owing to varying types of camps discovered in Wang Kelian four years ago.

The then VAT69 group commander, Mohd Yusof Ariffin, said the camps discovered in Wang Kelian had different characteristics.

“I only looked at the shape, structure and equipment used. In my opinion, the camps have different heads. For instance, there are bases which used food trays (talam) and there were bases which did not have food trays.

“Some used barbed wire, while some used only wood,” he said in reply to a question on whether the bases were run by different human trafficking syndicates.

Yusof was testifying at a royal commission of inquiry (RCI) into the discovery of human trafficking camps and mass graves in Wang Kelian four years ago.

On whether the camps shared a single water source, Yusof said there were camps which had no water source, while others had.

“For instance, camps three and four did not have a water source, while camps nine, 10 and 11 were located near a water source.

“There were camps which needed to get their water from other places,” he said.

On whether these camps had all existed at the same time, Yusof said the physical condition of the camps revealed some had been long abandoned, while others were new.

“For instance, in one of the camps, we found traces of rice. This showed it was very new, probably four to five days old.

“In another base, there were traces of farming. Based on the plants and the grass, we estimated there had been no activity for three to four months.”

The mass graves, 139 in total, and 28 abandoned camps were discovered at Bukit Wang Burma in Wang Kelian, near the Malaysia-Thailand border.

More than 100 skeletal remains, believed to be that of Rohingya refugees, were found in the graves.

The government at the time was criticised for the lack of action against top officials. Although four individuals were charged in court, critics said these were merely small-time traffickers.

The RCI resumes on Monday.