Bodies of 24 suspected human trafficking victims dug up near Malaysia-Thailand border

Men fill in a mass grave with coffins of unidentified remains of Rohingya people found at a traffickers camp in Wang Kelian in July, at a cemetery near Alor Setar, Malaysia.
Men fill in a mass grave with coffins of unidentified remains of Rohingya people found at a traffickers camp in Wang Kelian in July, at a cemetery near Alor Setar, Malaysia.PHOTO: REUTERS

WANG KELIAN (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The bodies of more than 20 suspected human trafficking victims have been dug up at a hill at the Malaysia-Thailand border near here.

The 24 remains, believed to be of Rohingya and Bangladeshis, were recovered from 19 graves at Wang Burma hill.

They were suspected to have died of abuse or malnourishment.

Sources said some of the remains were buried in shallow graves.

It is learnt that men from the police forensics team and the General Operations Force had dug up the remains after the graves were discovered a few days ago.

Police here declined to give details until the police headquarters issued a statement.

National Security Council chairman Shahidan Kassim confirmed the discovery.

"It was raining heavily recently and the downpour swept away the soil and revealed the remains.

"We don't know how long the victims were buried or if there was a transit camp there," he said.

The remains have been sent to Sultanah Bahiyah Hospital in Alor Setar, Kedah, for a post-mortem.

In an operation that was conducted from May 11 to May 23, the police found 139 graves scattered around 28 transit camps abandoned by a human trafficking syndicate in Wang Burma hill and Wang Perah hill.

The skeletal remains of 106 victims were found and have been buried in a mass grave in Kampung Tualang, Pokok Sena, near Alor Setar.