Adoptive parents in child trafficking case remanded
By DERRICK VINESH, MOHD FARHAAN SHAH and WINNIE YEOH / The Star
BUKIT MERTAJAM: It was a heart-wrenching scene when 45 adoptive parents detained in a child trafficking case were brought to the magistrate's court here.
As they were being led into the building, about 100 family members surged forward to catch a glimpse of their loved ones yesterday.
One family member hugged a relative who was in handcuffs and wept before policemen escorted her away.
Tears kept flowing from some of the detainees as lawyers approached them to offer legal help.
About 10 lawyers, including those from the Legal Aid Bureau, were present at the courthouse.
The 45 people were picked up to assist investigations into a Penang-based syndicate.
On Friday, police announced that the syndicate, which stretched to other states, had been busted with the rescue of 21 children aged between one month and nine years and the arrests of 43 people. Two more women were picked up yesterday.
Butterworth Court registrar Ahmad Faiz Md Zain issued a four-day remand order till Tuesday for the detainees, whose ages ranged from 27 to 57.
Investigating officer Asst Supt Rusnah Saidin applied for the order to carry out investigations under Section 14 of the Anti-Human Trafficking Act, which carries a jail term of between three and 20 years and a fine upon conviction.
Police also obtained an interim protection order for two babies. The two babies, who were said to have been “just rescued”, were also brought to court.
Meanwhile, police have rescued a two-month-old baby in Selangor, bringing the total number of babies “rescued” to 22.
Penang police chief Deputy Comm Datuk Abdul Rahim Hanafi said they also detained a 32-year-old woman in USJ, Selangor under Ops Pintas Sayang II at about 1.15pm on Friday.
In KLUANG, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said the Government would work with its regional counterparts, including China, to stamp out child trafficking syndicates.
He pointed out that he was keeping an eye on the issue to ensure that such activities would cease soon.