Malaysian police rescued 11 Bangladeshi and four Myanmar nationals, who were suspected to have been held for weeks by a local illegal immigrant trafficking syndicate, yesterday.
Police stormed into two adjacent 15th floor flat units at Macallum Street Ghaut in George Town area to rescue the victims, Malaysian English daily The Star reports quoting Mohd Nashir, the assistant commissioner of police for Penag state.
The trafficking syndicate was demanding ransom of up to Malaysian ringgit 10,000 each from the families of the victims, the police office added.
However, the identities of the victims could not be known immediately.
According to the police, the Bangladeshis looked weak and despondent when they were rescued after monitoring the place for several days following a tip off.
The Myanmarese were also were weak, hungry and stripped of all dignity as the traffickers chained them together like slaves.
The house was guarded by three other Myanmar nationals in their 40s whom the police also took into custody, said Kedah CID chief Assistant Commissioner Mohd Nashir Ya.
Police mentioned that the rescued foreigners were victims of a human trafficking syndicate whose members comprise Malaysians and Myanmarese.
Police are now on the hunt for the mastermind.
The victims were being held captive with the intention of getting ransom from their families.
One of the victims told the police that he had entered the country nine days ago.
He claimed that his family had to pay RM 2,000 to the syndicate before he could be taken to work at a construction site.
ACP Mohd Nashir said four people, aged between 20 and 50, were arrested in the raid. One of them was a woman.
They were watching over the victims.
Penang Deputy CID chief Asst Comm Nasir Salleh said police would hold a press conference over the matter soon.