Thursday, February 13, 2020

Wang Kelian - Recalling the NST Special Probes Teams 'shocking' disclosures? Prosecution?Trials? 130 dead?

Wang Kelian - A major scandal and embarrassment? About 130 people died? NST Probe Team raises questions of 'cover up' - destruction of crime scene before evidence gathered?  

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[EXCLUSIVE] The secrets of Wang Kelian exposed 

By Farrah Naz Karim And Aliza Shah -

KUALA LUMPUR: 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.

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.

Another huge question mark was why did police order the destruction of these camps, which were potential crime scenes, before they could be processed by forensics personnel?

The in-depth investigation was sparked by a number of burning, unanswered questions that dogged the team, among them, why had the initial discovery of these death camps been kept hush-hush; and who gave the order to sanitise and destroy the crime scene; and, why.

In the hunt for the truth, the team pored over scores of official documents and reams of reports. The team checked and re-checked the facts, sought corroborative witnesses and verified facts through multiple, independent sources — all to build an airtight case.

During the course of this investigation, the team traced and interviewed countless personalities who were directly involved in what had been, and still is, the most horrific case of human trafficking, torture and mass killings to have occurred on our soil.

These sessions also took the team back to the crime scene where evidence of the victims’ torture and suffering, including empty graves, were all around us.

The three-hour hike to the campsites took longer than it should as we were warned of syndicate members who could still be lurking. Communications were strictly in hushed tones.

All told, more than 150 remains of foreigners, believed to be human trafficking victims, had been exhumed from shallow, unmarked graves in Wang Kelian.

Refusing to be a part of what they described as a “systematic cover-up”, our sources opened up on what had really transpired in the dense, unforgiving jungles of Perlis — contradicting the “official version” of events.

The evidence secured by the team supported their story. The sources, including those who were directly involved in the case, had come into the open and claimed that there had been some “serious redacting” in reports and papers filed in the course of investigations.

One shocking discovery was that the authorities, particularly the Perlis police, knew the existence of these jungle camps in Wang Kelian in early January 2015, but had allegedly chosen not to do anything about them until half a year later.

Police, at a press conference announcing the “discovery”, were not ambiguous when they said that they believed the camps were only vacated three weeks prior.

We will never know how many innocent lives could have been saved if they had acted earlier.

The raiding team with foreign men in custody at the camp where the first mass graves were found.

Malaysian authorities, following the discovery of human trafficking camps and mass graves by the Thais on May 1, 2015, checked our side of the border and discovered, on May 24, 139 graves, together with some two dozen similar-looking squalid camps.
A report lodged by one of the police’s own, identified as ASP J.K. on Jan 19, 2015, at 10.15pm, stated that two General Operations Force (GOF) men had, during “a routine patrol” at a “dumpsite” somewhere in middle of the jungle of Wang Kelian State Park, had “stumbled on an observation post” on a tree. They probed further and made a second discovery — a trail leading into the Mata Ayer forest reserve.

They called for backup and were joined by a 30-man raiding team. They followed the trail to the top of Bukit Wang Burma.

There, before them, was a 30mx30m campsite. That was the first time a human trafficking racket operating in the Nakawan Range was discovered.

The raiding team saw six cages, where scores of men and women were packed inside under the watchful eyes of foreign men armed with M-16 rifles. The gunmen also conducted roving patrols around the campsite.

The team moved in about 4.30pm that day and detained 38 human trafficking victims (22 Bangladeshis and 16 Myanmar).

According to the official after-action report, an estimated 150 individuals, who were caged up earlier, had “escaped into the jungle” during the raid.

How the men and women managed to “escape” the assault team remains unknown. The armed syndicate members also miraculously joined their captives “and escaped into the jungle”.

According to the report, the camp had been operating for at least six months. The federal police had, on May 25, said some of the 28 camps that had been discovered under Op Wawasan Khas, launched on May 11, had been operating since 2013.

The GOF raiding team’s tactical procedures and protocols were not made clear in the report. The normal practice would be to first establish a cordon sanitaire around the camp periphery to prevent “squirters” from escaping.

Those rounded up were immediately brought down to the Padang Besar police headquarters for processing at 9.30pm.

The next day, the officer who led the assault team met the state deputy police chief.

An order to destroy the crime scene was issued, and the team returned to the site the next day to carry out the instructions.

It was during this mission that the men discovered the first 30 graves.

Jan 19, 2015 was when the Wang Kelian tragedy and the mass graves were discovered; not on May 25, as we were led to believe.

These men later filed an exhaustive report. They said syndicates in Thailand and Malaysia were believed to be working closely in running a lucrative, illicit business virtually unmolested, and fuelled by demand for illegal labour from as far away as Pahang and Johor.

The report also identified a local, suffering from vitiligo — who had been acting as the middleman. Eleven more locals, whose role was to “deliver the goods”, were also identified.

The discovery of foam was an indication that the jungles were inhabited, and this triggered the alarm on the existence of human trafficking camps.

Meanwhile, an independent report from another police team poked holes in the one presented at the meeting with the state’s second-in-command. It also contradicted the police report lodged by ASP J.K.

The new report suggested that the officer in question never dispatched 30 men as claimed, but only eight.

During the operation, the eight-man team was split into two. One was led by the GOF trooper who first suspected that something was amiss, and the other by an officer specially sent in for the mission. They took different routes to the camp, according to the report.

However, the assault team led by the officer never reached the scene. As the other team laid low, waiting, they heard one of the camp guards shouting, “Run! the police are here!”

It was between three and five minutes later that the other team with the officer showed up. The officer had allegedly given an order to pull back.

The report also revealed that the officer who did the briefing on the raid had concealed the fact that the graves were found on that very day, and not as they were destroying the crime scene.

“In fact, the campsite was not fully destroyed. It was very minimal. Only the tents and a portion of the guard posts were burned.”


The NST Special Probes Team was let in on a March discovery of another camp in Bukit Genting Perah, now known as one of the largest human trafficking camps in the hills here.

This startling find was revealed by a team of highly-trained men, including commandos, who were involved in a snatch-and-grab mission.

The orders that were cut for this secret mission stemmed from the deafening silence that followed the first discovery of the death camps.

Taking position in the dark of night, the small team waited and shadowed their adversaries — the camp guards — waiting for the right moment to pounce.

One by one, the commandos would grab and quickly overpower their targets, and then slip stealthily back into the cover of darkness.

With all five foreign men in custody, the team regrouped and made their way down the hill. The trek back to home base took three hours. Halfway down the challenging terrain, with the suspects in tow, members of the strike team heard gunshots coming from the camp.

This was the first human remains to be discovered near the camp in Wang Kelian.
“We knew immediately that the syndicate members had realised that their men were missing, and that their operation had probably been discovered,” a source with direct knowledge revealed.

News of this discovery and the arrest of the five men during the covert ops by the commandos from Perlis was never made public.

The status of the five suspects remains unknown, although the NST Special Probes Team was made to understand that many of them could have been merely charged with immigration offences.

It is also not known if a follow-up raid was ever made.

The report on the Bukit Wang Burma raid stated that the local middleman, who had been taken into custody, had admitted to greasing the palms of personnel in border security agencies to ensure that his operation could continue unmolested.

“Many of these agencies are highly involved in human trafficking, and this is a serious trans-border crime that cannot be eliminated by arresting illegal immigrants and deporting them.

For as long as there are authorities working hand-in-glove with these syndicates, eradicating this problem will be an uphill battle,” the document stated.

For the record, the document was carbon-copied to the state police chief and his deputy, the state National Security Council, the Perlis and Kedah Border Intelligence Unit and the head of the Third Battalion of the GOF, among others.

The NST Special Probes Team had, on one occasion, cornered the Deputy Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Noor Rashid Ibrahim to reveal to him what we knew about the case, and if he had any explanation. He listened to every word, but refused to comment. We were stonewalled.

Trying a different tack, the team sent a number of text messages to the then inspector-general of police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar. They, too, went unanswered.

Finally, the team managed to track Khalid down at an event at a bowling alley in the capital, and asked him about Wang Kelian.

After listening to us, Khalid finally relented and agreed to talk, but on one condition — that the conversation not be recorded. His ADC made sure of it.

The team had a number of burning questions, not least of which was why had the discovery of the death camps been kept a secret. What was the overwhelming justification in allowing the slaughter of scores of innocents, including women and children, to continue unabated?

Khalid was visibly apprehensive when confronted with these questions. It took a while before he finally spoke.

And when he did, his voice betrayed the enormity of what he was about to tell us.

The NST Special Probes Team is bound by journalistic ethics in honouring the condition Khalid imposed, which was not to publish what he had told us. - New Straits Times, 20/12/2017
Wang Kelian: Sources keen to unload secrets

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

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