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21 babies, children rescued from Penang-based ring
Publication Date : 23-02-2013
The tentacles of a Penang-based child trafficking syndicate stretching to many parts of the country have been chopped off with the rescue of 21 babies and children aged between a month and nine years and the arrests of 43 people.
The children are believed to be from Penang (two), Selangor (seven), Johor (three), Perak (three), Pahang (one), Negri Sembilan (one) and Kuala Lumpur (four).
The racket's bust on Thursday night comes less than two months after police nabbed 36 people from Kedah, Perak and here during a month-long operation that ended on Jan 24 and rescued 10 children aged between two months and eight years.
The syndicate has been active since 2009.
Most of the babies were sold soon after they were born.
Police believe that three of the children could have been taken out of the country to Singapore, Indonesia and even as far as Canada.
Penang police chief Deputy Comm Abdul Rahim Hanafi told the media yesterday that the operation, codenamed Ops Pintas Sayang, was launched simultaneously at 11pm on Thursday in Selangor, Johor, Pahang, Negri Sembilan, Kuala Lumpur, Perak and here, involving 123 police personnel.
He said the children, 10 boys and 11 girls were rescued during the operation, adding that they had been placed in a shelter.
“We are also working closely with Interpol on the cases of children who are believed to have been taken out of the country,” he said.
DCP Abdul Rahim said the suspects arrested, aged between 27 and 57, would be investigated under Section 14 of the Anti-Human Trafficking Act 2007, which carries a jail term of not less than three years and not exceeding 20 years and a fine upon conviction.
He said Thursday's operation was a follow-up on the one held on Jan 7 during which 10 children were rescued.
“The modus operandi of the syndicate is to target pregnant but unmarried Thai, Indonesian or Bangladeshi women who face financial problems.
“These women will be offered between 2,500 ringgit (US$806) and 4,500 ringgit ($1,450) each depending on the gender and looks of the babies.
“The babies will be sold to childless couples together with original birth certificates for between 18,000 ringgit and 30,000 ringgit,” he said.