Thursday, January 04, 2018

Wang Kelian - An UMNO-BN government cover-up?The secrets of Wang Kelian exposed by investigative journalism?

An exhaustive, two-year investigation by the New Straits Times Special Probes Team into the mass killings in Wang Kelian in 2015 that shook the world, has revealed startling new evidence, which suggests a massive, coordinated cover-up.

Wang Kelian incident and what happened - is the responsibility of Prime Minister Najib and the UMNO-BN government? It may have been non-Malaysians who died BUT Malaysians are very disturbed about what happened to these human beings...Were Ministers and politicians involved? The police and the Immigration Department comes under the Home Minister...Why was action taken delayed? Why was evidence destroyed? What has happened to the persons arrested - have they been tried or convicted? Why have there been little news of arrest and prosecution of the enforcement personnel and other persons involved in this crime?

New Straits Times does a GREAT job in investigating and informing us of the many still answered questions...

One of the biggest revelations was that the human trafficking death camps had been discovered months earlier, but police only announced the discovery on May 25.

A row of graves at the Wang Kelian human trafficking camp, which the raiding party first found.

KUALA LUMPUR: “Do you want to know what really happened in Wang Kelian?”

The voice at the other end of the line spoke in a hushed tone, but the timbre betrayed the deep sense of helplessness.

It took a while to process every lurid detail that came pouring out. It almost didn’t make sense.

The New Straits Times Special Probes Team spent the next two years digging up the darkest, deepest secrets that had long been buried in the quiet hills of Wang Kelian.

Various sources with direct involvement and knowledge of this crime against humanity, which saw more than 150 innocent lives snuffed out, came forward with the real stories.

Their stories matched — right down to the minutest of details.

Their willingness to open up was a desperate act of clearing their conscience.

It was a burden of guilt. Of knowing. A burden they refused to carry to their graves.

Their version of what transpired will likely be disputed. But there is always the right of reply that the team is more than willing to take up.

They spoke about a time in early January 2015, when several personnel with the General Operations Force (GOF) manning the border, noticed something that seemed out of place in an area that was supposed to be uninhabited.

Having noticed the presence of foam, the smell of detergent and waste flowing downstream where they clean up after a patrol, they alerted their superior of their observations.

They were told not to worry about it. They figured a more attentive pair of ears would probably be more interested to hear them out, and shared their concerns with other cops.

On Jan 19, an operation was mounted at 11.45am, in connection with the Wang Burma case.

About five hours later, they came down the hill with 38 paperless migrants.

One would assume that a massive sweep of Wang Kelian would be launched to ascertain if there were more human trafficking camps. It is only fair to think that.

So, it is hard to explain why it was only on March 13 that an assault team was brought in, in the middle of the night, on a seek-and-capture mission — at a totally different site in Bukit Genting Perah.

This camp has since been known as one of the biggest human trafficking base camps up in the Nakawan range bordering Thailand. The assault team had been carrying out a sustained surveillance of the area. The tell-tale signs were easy to spot. Where no signs of life were expected, they saw a light trail.

They knew it was the path the victims took to freedom — after they had paid the syndicates, of course. This is the same trail that the authorities, who were later sent in to process the camp, widened to allow a massive clean-up and bring down some of the remains they found in more than 139 graves.

To cut a long story short, the NST Special Probes Team was told that the special strike team hauled in five men believed to be members of a human trafficking syndicate (In an operation carried out on Aug 12, VAT69 commandos and the Perlis Special Branch discovered 20 graves and 24 remains from another camp not far from the ones earlier discovered. Only 18 of the graves had human remains in them, while six skeletons were found inside huts made of bamboo and wood.)

Our team took the trail up to Bukit Genting Perah.

Halfway the two-hour hike up the steep and slippery hill, we stopped to document and photograph a line of now-empty graves.

As the camps began to come into view, we saw an observation post at the entrance. They were facing Malaysia. Not one was built facing the Thai side. There were many more unmarked graves surrounding the camp site.

One could only imagine the suffering hundreds of migrants went through on our soil.

Nothing will be learned about the ordeal suffered by those who died as none of their identities had been established to date. Many of their loved ones back home will be left wondering if they ever made it alive, to a better life.

Authorities on the Thai side had made arrests, including the mayor of Padang Besar.

The Thais also issued around 30 arrest warrants and transferred out 38 senior police, Immigration and marine police officers suspected of having knowledge of the crime, or were involved in it. - New Straits Times, 20/12/2017

KUALA LUMPUR: HERE are some hard questions that need to be answered, which would hopefully clear any nagging suspicions that there was a cover-up in the case of Wang Kelian.

WHY was the discovery of the camps in Bukit Wang Burma on Jan 19 and Bukit Genting Perah on March 13, kept secret?

WHERE is ASP J.K. now? He was the one who led the Jan 19 raid and briefed his superiors about it the next day.

WHY did Perlis police issue the order to destroy the camp a day after the General Operations Force (GOF) reported the discovery? Who issued the order?

Wouldn’t this be construed as tampering with evidence/crime scene?

HOW did the Perlis top cop, who was then close to retirement, or his deputy, react when the discovery of the massive human trafficking camp and mass graves was brought to their attention?

WHY was the camp not immediately cordoned off and the remains exhumed?

WHAT happened to the 38 migrants taken into custody by the assault team? Aren’t they prime witnesses?

WHY were they investigated for immigration offences? Were they not prime witnesses?

WHAT was the tactical approach taken by the elite police force on the Jan 19 raid, which had allowed all the syndicate members and most of the migrants held in several camps, to evade arrest?

FOLLOWING the discovery of the camp in Bukit Wang Burma, why did the GOF not sweep the whole area to see if there were other camps?

WHY are there different accounts of what had happened in the Jan 19 raid in Wang Burma?

SOME locals who were part of the syndicate had been identified. Have they been picked up?

HAVE the police officers suspected of being in cahoots with the syndicates been dealt with under the law, or are they being “disciplined” internally?

THERE were at least two Thai-Malaysia border committee meetings after the Jan 19 raid. Were the discoveries not discussed?

IS there no truth in our expose? Or was Bukit Aman kept in the dark over the discovery of the camp when it said on May 25 that police did not find the camps before May.

WHY were 300 VAT69 commandos sent on a mission on May 11 to locate and verify the existence of these camps under Op Wawasan Khas, when there is already photographic evidence of the Jan 19 raid?

DID Perlis police know that after their Jan 19 raid, the camps were still operating?

In the May 25 press conference, the authorities confirmed that the sites were only vacated three weeks before.

AND the final question — will those behind this heinous crime against humanity be made to pay, and will the men, women and children who died trying to get a second chance at life, ever get the justice owed to them? - New Straits Times, 20/12/2017

Press Release | Ensure Justice for Wang Kelian Death Camp Victims and Their Families

Sunday, 24 December 2017 07:19pm 
ImageThe Malaysian Bar is very troubled by the report published by the New Straits Times (“NST”) on 20 December 2017, regarding the discovery of evidence of a “massive, coordinated cover-up” of the mass graves and “death camps” that had been discovered in Wang Kelian, Perlis, in 2015.

The NST report exposes the systemic weaknesses of the Malaysian criminal justice system, and Malaysia’s approach towards asylum seekers and refugees, as well as the perpetrators and victims of human trafficking and migrant smuggling.  

The NST reported a breakdown in management, and the lack, of a proper and coordinated criminal investigation in the face of evidence of mass murder within our borders.  Allegations that such evidence was handled without sufficient care and without due process, if true, are shocking and tragic, not only for how they reflect on the criminal justice system but also for those who lost their lives, and for their loved ones.  There must be no cover-up for, or protection of, any wrongdoers.

The climate of apathy with which these reported allegations have been met leaves much to be desired.
The apparent inertia on the part of the Government is reprehensible, given the abominable nature of the mass graves and “death camps”.  Such conduct by the Government is unbecoming and unacceptable, not least in light of its international commitments under the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime, and its Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children.

The Malaysian Bar calls on the Government to take all necessary steps to comply with its international commitments and to uncover the full truth, including:

(1)    Establishing a Royal Commission of Inquiry (“RCI”) to investigate the existence of the mass graves and “death camps”, and the allegations of, among others, a cover-up, complicity, collusion, and corruption of law enforcement agencies, and to identify the perpetrators concerned; and

(2)    Setting up the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (“IPCMC”), an independent, external oversight body tasked solely to receive and investigate allegations against the police.

The Malaysian Bar also calls upon the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (“SUHAKAM”) to exercise its functions and powers pursuant to sections 4(1)(d), 4(2)(d) and 4(2)(f), read with section 12(1), of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia Act 1999, to carry out an inquiry in respect of the alleged human rights infringements, and produce a report of its investigations, findings and conclusions. 

It is noteworthy that it is the fourth estate — the media — that has delivered eye-opening disclosures about the horrifying treatment meted out over two years ago, resulting in more questions than answers.  This underlines the fact that Malaysia needs, and Malaysians deserve, a free and independent media that practises ethical, responsible, and fair journalism.

The NST report’s damning revelations reinforce the dire need to have an impartial and comprehensive inquiry into the facts and circumstances surrounding the mass graves and “death camps”, and the human trafficking that they point to.  The Government must — at all costs — bring those responsible for these heinous atrocities to task, and ensure that such tragedies never recur. 

George Varughese
Malaysian Bar
24 December 2017

1 comment:

Hakimi Abdul Jabar said...

On another note :

The latest Suaram-monitored 2017 Custodial Deaths List/Schedule discerns the names of 16 victims. This figure is quite close to the average of 19 annual custodial deaths observed by Suhakam, the Malaysian Human Rights Commission years ago.