Two cops arrested before Wang Kelian discovery, RCI told

Wang Kelian investigating officer Woon Tan Seng.

PUTRAJAYA: The royal commission of inquiry (RCI) into the discovery of human trafficking camps and mass graves at Wang Kelian in Perlis four years ago was today told that two police personnel had been arrested for allegedly protecting members of a human smuggling syndicate.

Investigating officer Woon Tan Seng said the two policemen, with the rank of lance corporal, were arrested in a raid codenamed “Ops Pintas Utara” in 2014, long before the camps and graves had been discovered at Wang Kelian.

The duo, who were then based at the Sungai Dua police station, were arrested under the Emergency Ordinance but only internal disciplinary action had been against them.

“There was no further action taken against them and they were released. Investigations revealed that they had merely escorted the illegal immigrants. They did not know the actual entry points of these immigrants.

“Yes, they did accept money. The cases were dropped as there was no solid evidence to charge them in court,” Woon said.

However, he said the two were not linked to the Wang Kelian discovery, and no other police personnel had been arrested or found to be directly involved.

An inquiry panel member, former inspector-general of police Norian Mai, asked Woon to come up with a list of actions taken under various laws against those allegedly involved in migrant smuggling activities over the last few years.

Woon agreed with former chief justice Arifin Zakaria, who leads the inquiry panel, that upon the discovery of the graves, the bodies should have been immediately exhumed and not left there for months.

“Yes, generally, I agree that it should be done immediately. There may have been a certain plan. I am unable to explain,” he said.

Woon will resume his testimony before the RCI tomorrow.

Other members of the panel are Noorbahri Baharuddin, Razali Ismail, Junaidah Abd Rahman, Nazirah Hussain and Tan Seng Giaw.

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

Over 100 skeletal remains, believed to be 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.