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Cops arrest ex-politician who allegedly forced patients at treatment centres to work without pay

Cops arrest ex-politician who allegedly forced patients at treatment centres to work without pay

GEORGE TOWN: A former politician who started a rehabilitation centre for drug addicts and alcoholics is among 11 people nabbed on a suspicion of human trafficking here.

Penang police chief Datuk Mohd Shuhaily Mohd Zain said the former politician is in his 50s and was detained at his house here on Sunday (Oct 30).

“The other eight men and two women are aged from 22 to 60 and were detained in the Northeast district here on the island and Southeast Seberang Prai from Oct 27 to 30.

“The former politician lost both the parliamentary and state seats he contested in the 14th General Election and also lost his deposits,” he said during a press conference held at the state police headquarters in George Town here on Monday (Oct 31).

He said the police got wind of the trafficking activities after receiving a tip-off.

“Following the arrests, police managed to rescue 13 victims, all men aged from 22 to 62. Investigations revealed that the victims were seeking treatment for drug and alcohol addiction at the centre.

“The victims were sent to the centres for treatment, some by family members who paid from RM1,200 to RM1,500 a month.

“Instead of being treated, the victims were forced to do hard labour such as at a car wash, eateries and even to service air-conditioners. They were not paid and not given days off.

“If they objected or put up a fight, they were beaten and chained up to prevent them from escaping,” he said.

Comm Mohd Shuhaily said the case is being investigated under Section 12 of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants Act, which carries a maximum of 20 years’ jail and a fine, upon conviction.

He urged those with information to come forward to assist in investigations.

“Checks showed the centres in the two districts were unregistered and have been in operation for about two years,” he said.



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