Suspected trafficking kingpins handed to Malaysia

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Report: Authorities compiling detailed information and investigating suspected leaders of human-trafficking syndicates before prosecution.

By P Prem Kumar

KUALA LUMPUR – Thailand has handed over the suspected leaders of several human-trafficking syndicates to Malaysia, according to a report.

Malaysian state news agency Bernama reported Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi as saying Monday that authorities were now compiling detailed information on cases and investigating the suspected “kingpins” before they launch any prosecutions.

“We thank Thailand for their help in entering their territory to find the masterminds in human-trafficking,” he said.

On June 9, Malaysian police said they had recovered the remains of 139 graves at 28 transit camps along the country’s northern border with Thailand.

Hamidi said Monday that police had identified “Yassin” — an ethnic Rohingya Muslim involved in human-trafficking cases in a town on the border.

He added that Yassin had escaped to Thailand and police were now receiving cooperation from neighboring authorities to repatriate him to be charged.

Buth Thai and Malaysian officials have been implicated by rights groups as colluding with human smugglers who have been praying on the migrants — many of whom are Muslim Rohingya fleeing persecution described by some human rights groups as “state sponsored” in Myanmar.

Tens of thousands of Rohingya have left Myanmar attempting to reach Muslim majority Malaysia and Indonesia on crammed boats.

The journey has exposed them to human traffickers who have held them at temporary camps within Thailand to demand ransoms from their families back home.

If no ransom is paid, the refugees are often beaten and/or killed.

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