GEORGE TOWN: A former politician who started a rehabilitation center for drug and alcohol addicts is among 11 people arrested on suspicion of human trafficking here.
Penang police chief Datuk Mohd Shuhaily Mohd Zain said the former politician, who is in his 50s, was arrested at his home here on Sunday (October 30).
“The other eight men and two women are aged from 22 to 60 years old and were arrested in the North-East region here in the island and South of Seberang Prai since October 27 to 30.
“The former politician lost the parliamentary and regional seats he contested in the 14th General Election and also lost his savings,” he said at a press conference held at the police headquarters. of George Town here on Monday (October 31).
He said the police heard the trade after receiving a tip.
“Following the arrests, police managed to rescue 13 victims, all of whom were men between the ages of 22 and 62. Investigations revealed that the victims were seeking treatment for drug addiction and alcohol in the center.
“The victims were sent to medical centres, some of which were paid by family members from RM1,200 to RM1,500 per month.
“Apart from treatment, the victims were forced to do hard work such as washing cars, running canteens and even operating air conditioners. They were not paid and were not given a day off.
“If they resist or fight, they will be beaten and chained so that they cannot escape,” 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 up to 20 years in prison and a fine, upon conviction .
He urged anyone with information to come forward and assist in the investigation.
“Investigations revealed that the centers in the two districts were not registered and had been operating for two years,” he said.