It started with a young man’s bold escape which led the police to uncover a begging syndicate that exploited nearly 20 youths.
The 21-year-old man could not take the endless beatings by the syndicate members after he fails to earn the compulsory daily amount of RM300. The victims had been brought from an orphanage in Penang and they were forced to beg for money in the Klang Valley.
On April 4, the man climbed out of the apartment window in one of the blocks located in Bandar Mahkota Cheras but was stopped by a representative of the apartment’s management.
The young man climbed down from the fifth floor of the apartment and sat on the ledge on the first floor where the representative found him. He was told not to make any sudden moves and was later brought down safely.
It was then he revealed that he was a victim of the syndicate, and the management helped him lodge a police report.
On the night of April 6, a team of police raided the apartment, found and rescued 18 other victims aged 17 to 28, four of them were women. The victims were kept in two units in the apartment building while members of the syndicate stayed in another unit.
“Initial investigations revealed that the rescued youths fell victim to a human trafficking syndicate that exploited teenagers and children to collect donations from people living in Kajang.
“We believe they were duped into collecting donations on behalf of the syndicate,” the Selangor CID chief Senior Asst Comm Fadzil Ahmat said.
Three men and a woman were believed to be syndicate members, was arrested in the raid. Police seized several receipt booklets, catalogs of an orphanage for the purpose of convincing donors, two sets of donation forms, a modem, a wireless router, a CCTV and more than RM3,000 in cash.
“The case is being investigated under Sections 12 and 14 of the Anti-Human Trafficking Act 2007 for people and child trafficking offenses.
“The four suspects have been remanded until Thursday,” said SAC Fadzil.
“The victims have been sent to a safe house where they will remain until April 27,” added SAC Fadzil.
State Social Welfare Department deputy director R.Chitarthany said that the department was unaware of the matter but it would investigate.
“If the orphanage was registered with us, we would know their daily operations, even if they go on an excursion.
“I think this particular home might be an illegal one,” she said.
Anyone with information on the case is urged to step forward to aid with investigations.